SRINAGAR: At an impressive party gathering at the eternal resting place of its founder, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, at Naseem Bagh, the National Conference delegates re-elected Dr Farooq Abdullah as its president. The participation was from across Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Dr Farooq Abdullah was re-elected the president of the National Conference by the party delegates on December 5, 2022: KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

The session was called on the 117th birth anniversary of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, the founder of the party.

The delegate session unanimously passes three resolutions on the political, and economic scenario and working of the press in Jammu and Kashmir, a party spokesman said. “His nomination was attested to by the Party Provincial Presidents Nasir Aslam Wani, Rattan Lal Gupta and Haji Qamar Ali Akhoon,” he added.

Here are the three resolutions that the party adopted at its open delegate session.

The Political Resolution

Jammu and Kashmir National Conference has and will always strive to protect the rights and dignity of the people of J&K. In spite of the large scale of yearlong incarcerations of party rank and file following the rescinding of Articles 370 and 35 A, and the subsequent downgrading of J&K from one of the powerful states in the country to two Union territories on Aug 05, 2019, the party leadership is at the forefront fighting to get back what was illegally snatched from us.

It is now the third year since Articles 370, 35 A were illegally and unconstitutionally abrogated amidst promises of improved economic and security scenario, and J&K has only seen worsening on both these fronts. The economic and security scenario continues to deteriorate, engulfing more and more people.

While JKNC is fighting a legal battle in the Hon’ble Supreme Court against the Aug 05, 2019 decisions, people of J&K have, and are being disempowered in the largest democracy of the World. From June 2018 till date, J&K is reeling under the second-longest spell of the Governor’s rule.

NC delegate rally at Sheikh’s Mazar on Dec 5, 2022, on his birthday anniversary. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Here is an erstwhile state where people are being denied to have their own government who listens to them, understands their concerns and acts accordingly. For people, there is little to no access to the LG or his advisors. The basic essence of representation and accountability has long been rescinded in this part of the world where bureaucracy rules.

In the All-Party meeting convened in 2021, Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi reiterated his government’s commitment to restoring J&K’s statehood. Then much to our disagreement and protests, GoI started the delimitation process which finally culminated with the release of updated voter lists for the newly redrawn 90 assembly segments of J&K. It was promised by the country’s Home Minister that the much-awaited assembly elections will be held after the delimitation process is over. Now that the process is complete and the final updated voter list is out, still there is no announcement for Assembly elections.

Dr Farooq Abdullah with his wife and daughter met his son Omar Abdullah at Hari Niwas Place after being released from detention. KL Image

Considering the political situation in J&K, this delegate session resolves:

  1. Articles 370, 35 A be restored to their original, undiluted form.
  2. Restore full statehood to J&K and announce Assembly Election dates at the earliest.
  3. We urge the people of India to rise to the occasion and ask the BJP-led central government to remove injustices in J&K.
  4. In view of their great historical significance, Public holidays should be restored on the occasion of Martyr’s day and Sher e Kashmir’s birth anniversary i.e on 13th July and 05 December respectively.
  5. NHPC-owned Power projects should be returned to J&K to address the electricity crisis.
  6. Prisoners lodged outside J&K should be brought back to Kashmir and prisoners who are not held for serious charges be released.
  7. JKNC is committed towards the upliftment and development of every weaker section of society and welcomes the steps taken for the conferment of ST Status in favour of Paharis of Jammu and Kashmir. As assured, ST Status already conferred in favour of Gujjars and Bakarwals shall not be diluted is also a welcome step and it will bring harmony and brotherhood between the two communities.

The Economic Resolution

Sheikh Abdullah signing land to tiller ordinance. Aijaz Ashraf Wani Whither Governance? Kashmir
Sheikh Abdullah signing land to tiller ordinance.

The economy of the country is in a bad shape, so is the case with Jammu and Kashmir. This session of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, therefore, expresses its dissatisfaction on the overall economic scenario in J&K.

This important meeting demands that the Government should take urgent measures to improve these conditions, which have left the people gasping for succour and relief. As if the disturbed conditions of law and order and political turmoil and uncertainty were not enough, people have been left to grapple with a host of problems and also to encounter an unresponsive and unsympathetic administration. The flood of unemployment is raging unabated and lakhs of young girls and boys are knocking at the doors of the Government for employment. It is a matter of concern that the ranks of these luckless youngsters are becoming larger by the day and the people at the helm are witnessing this phenomenon with a stone-hearted detachment and apathy.

This session of JKNC is of the opinion that this state of affairs is not only depriving the society of the rich talent of this human resource but is also putting their poor parents to hardships, both financial and emotional.

This session feels that the continued non-engagement of this tremendous workforce can have sinister consequences. It can disturb the balance of our society and create a volatile situation. JKNC demands that this most urgent issue should receive the attention of the authorities at the highest level and they must come up with an expeditious plan to solve this problem.

Another major issue confronting the people is the unprecedented price rise. The skyrocketing prices have broken the back of the common man. It is becoming difficult for him with each passing day to make both ends meet. Bringing food grains and other cereals in the GST net recently has added fuel to the fire. Needless to mention, these items were out of the tax net till this recent decision of the Government.

According to the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) monthly report of October 2022, along with an uncertain macroeconomic outlook, the year 2022 also brought to the fore the vulnerability and interconnectedness of the global food system to shocks. Russia and Ukraine being key suppliers of agricultural commodities, their conflict has choked the supply and fuelled food inflation, impacting overall food security. Heat waves and adverse climatic events in several countries have further impacted food production and restricted their supply to the world market. India’s grain availability was impacted by the untimely heat waves and deficiency of the southwest monsoon in the current year. There is one cause of concern as food inflation has contributed significantly to overall CPI inflation. During the first five months of 2022, food inflation was imported from elevating global prices of oils and fats. Since June 2022, however, domestic seasonal factors have been the major source of food inflation, mostly seen in the elevated prices of vegetables, cereals and their products.

The fruit industry in Jammu and Kashmir, which is the main source of income in the rural populace, is in the doldrums. During the current year, it faced a serious crisis as never before. Markets for the produce fell drastically causing huge losses to the growers. Mismanagement of transport required for the purpose was another cause of loss to the growers. Thousands of tons of fresh fruit were abandoned in the orchards because the cost involved in the process of harvesting and transportation would exceed the amount the growers would fetch on its sale. Instead of encouraging and helping the local growers, apple was imported from Iran and Turkey, further crushing the already distressed industry. It would be in the fitness of things to review the import policy in this regard. This session demands of the Government to assess the losses incurred by the distressed fruit growers and pay suitable compensation to them.

The Union territory is without an elected government for the last more than four years. As such the people have no forum to take their grievances to. In these circumstances the claim of the Central Government that they strengthened democracy in the Union territory is absurd. The Panchayati Raj institutions, which they frequently make mention of, have failed to deliver. The DDC members elected by popular vote have been confined to hired hotel rooms. They are seldom permitted to visit their constituencies due to so-called security reasons.

This session of JKNC expresses its concern that in spite of a much-inflated budget, the people of Jammu and Kashmir have to face a financial crunch in their day-to-day life. They have to face difficulties in the fields of power supply, health care, insufficient teaching staff in educational institutions, damaged roads and by and large, poor infrastructure in every public service. A section of the bureaucracy, at the upper and lower levels, is not at all responsive to the needs of the common man and is indulging in its arrogant ways. This financial and departmental mismanagement is taking its toll. Many bills and claims are not getting cleared from the State treasuries and bureaucrats are callous to the legitimate needs and requests of the public.

This session of JKNC draws the attention of the Government to the plight of the common man and demands that it must activate its machinery for the people’s welfare, and remove the bottlenecks which are coming in the ways of people getting their due from the huge investments of the Government. The session demands that the negligent officers/officials must be kept under constant scrutiny and should not be allowed to relapse into lethargy and neglect in their services to the common people. The session also expresses its deep anguish at the growing menace of corruption and corrupt practices at the various levels of administration. We demand that these culprits be given exemplary punishment and measures taken to stem the rot.

In conclusion, this session of JKNC stresses upon the Government of Jammu and Kashmir to urgently attend the aforementioned and other grey areas of the economy, to ensure that the people of Jammu and Kashmir lead a happy, prosperous and stress-free life.

The Press Resolution

Farooq Abdullah (file pic)

The role of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference for the freedom of the press platform and free journalism in Jammu and Kashmir cannot be ignored in any way. It was due to the unrelenting efforts and sacrifices of Sher-e-Kashmir that the press platform was founded and safeguarded in Jammu and Kashmir.

In order to ensure the freedom of the press, the Lion of Kashmir, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, suffered countless and unforgettable problems and difficulties. He also had to face incarcerations along with his companions.

In 1996 the National Conference government led by Dr Farooq Abdullah breathed new life into the freedom of the press platform by providing a free environment to journalists and the flourishing of a truly free press.  With the passage of time, the field of journalism in Jammu and Kashmir has developed so much that a large number of young people here have started choosing journalism as their career. Journalists here have been associated with domestic and foreign institutions and have gained international fame and brought home hard-won laurels.

But the way the journalism sector of Jammu and Kashmir has deteriorated over the past years is very regretful. In the current era, the free press has been totally suppressed. Journalists are being targeted from different quarters. Not only this, but since the past years, the journalism sector here is suffering from a severe economic crisis, due to which the quality and values of journalism have declined.

The J&K National Conference today through this resolution in this delegate session demands that the press in Jammu and Kashmir should be provided with a free environment and should not be subjected to any undue interference in their work from any quarter.


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