Know your power

There are instances galore when issues could have been resolved, decisions forced and supremacy of the state legislature vis-?-vis Centre established. Let us not forget the simple fact that even as the special status of J&K has been truncated, the residuary powers are still vested with the state.
True, the political economy consideration may not allow any incumbent state government to take a confrontation with the Centre, but that should not mean a capitulation of the Constitutional powers of the state. It can be debated that, more than incursions made by the Centre, it is our own lawmaker’s ignorance and inaction that has caused greater damage to J&K’s autonomous position.
The classic example of this, of course, is the manner in which the Report of the Autonomy Committee was dealt with. The house never passed it. It is well known that had the house passed it as a resolution, it would have forced the Union Government to act on it. They might have rejected it. But then had the state assembly passed it with a two-third majority, the Centre would have had little choice. Then, most believed that it was done in connivance.
History is repeating itself. The new Chief Minster has said that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) will be repealed. Giving him benefit of doubt, it is certain that he wants to do it. As we show in our cover story, it doesn’t take much to repeal the act. All that it takes is the courage of conviction and a belief in the governance system of India. Both these, the young Chief Minister, has in abundance. Even Home Minister P Chidambaram is not totally against repealing the law as was clear by his statement in his last visit to Jammu.
The current state of play raises serious doubts about well our political executive, no matter who it is from among the unionist camp, can leverage Autonomy or Self Rule. If they are unable to handle what they have, how can we be sure that they will gainfully utilize a greater degree of autonomy?
So the first battle is that of knowing our powers and using them to get what we want. The power of knowledge can to a large extent overshadow the power of the gun. It is a battle worth fighting for.


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