Looking Back

cover-pageOmar Abdullah led coalition government completed five years in office. Many people made their surprise and shock public that the government avoided any formal function to mark the occasion. It was in response to the reports that the government issued a long statement listing the decisions that the cabinet took in all these years. That was it.

Looking back at the last five years of the governance in Jammu and  Kashmir, there seems nothing much that could be celebrated. The incumbent government took over months after the 2008 unrest over the land row had literally demoralized the society as nobody was willing to act against the people who led to scores of killings. Year 2009 briefly witnessed the disruptions over the two killings of Shopian. The case was given to the CBI that negated everything people talked about and believed in.

The worst came in 2010 when one killing led to another and the chain of killings eventually triggered a sort of unrest that devoured more than 132 youth across Kashmir. Interestingly, while the army decided to act against its members who were responsible for the fake Machil encounter, the state government is yet to act against any of the members of the paramilitary or the cops who were responsible for the broad daylight murders. Even though militancy is at its lowest, the human rights continue to be grim and the state government’s attitude towards its protection remains insensitive.

The government ensuring the petition against former state police chief is dismissed and the man is respectfully elevated to the post retirement constitutional position makes it clear, how serious the rulers are. The high voltage noise over the revocation of the draconian AFSPA that initially dominated the official discourse was lost to the din of diverse stake holding claims. Apparently, it seems AFSPA makes no issue for the ruling coalition. Human rights apart, the governance lacked the efficiency that a state like Jammu and Kashmir requires. Corruption, the much talked about governance issue, did not see anything that would offer the seriousness of the rulers.

Key instances of corruption against ministers were brushed aside and buried under the carpet taking the ‘coalition compulsion’ route. If any government acts on corruption at high places, a sizable chunk of politicians from all parties will become neighbours of Gulzar Peer and Mushtaq Peer. But that seems no priority at all. In fact, ruling party’s party spokesman is being paid salary from the state exchequer.

It is sheer coincidence that the state government has landed in worst ever financial crisis at a time when it should been celebrating five years in power. As the people are investigating why the crisis erupted at first place, it is being linked to one of the disastrous decisions that the state government took in the larger interests of the government. As the officials in state’s planning and finance ministry are trying to understand the systems that are in place in the planning commission of India, all of a sudden they found they have no cushions around.

The last cushion they deflated was when they accepted to be  part of RBIs ways and means to manage its finances. There are no flexibilities around. Omar had started his inning dramatically but with a cleaner slate at personal level. As his opponents started pulling him for the baggage that he inherited, he himself created his own baggage that will chase him for the rest of political career. As the state is approaching fast towards the new assembly election, it does offer a lot of space and time for all political beings to be more responsive and introduce corrections. Year 2014 will exhibit that spirit at a time when clean Aam Admi Party started devouring the mighty.

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