Congress leader and J&K’s former Sadar-e-Riyasat Karan Singh did well on Tuesday (Feb 28, 2023) to acknowledge that “a lot of good things have happened (in J&K after August 2019) and there is no doubt about it”. On August 5-6, 2019, the Narendra Modi government read down seditious Article 370, abrogated discriminatory Article 35A, and created J&K UT and Ladakh UT out of the erstwhile J&K State.
As for the bifurcation of the erstwhile state, he said, “I believe we have to look forward rather than going back which is not beneficial.” “My mantra is that I have always looked at the present and future. I have seen a lot of things (in my life) and I have never been discouraged (by events). Time keeps changing and let us do something to make the world a better place,” he said.
However, Karan Singh’s two disturbing demands seeking Assembly elections in J&K and full state status for it only show that he didn’t know what he said. What exactly did Karan Say? Claiming that “there is lack of communication between the public and the bureaucracy in J&K,” Karan Singh advocated “free and fair Assembly elections to address the ‘missing link’ by installing a popular government.” “Today, there are no MLAs, so there is a bureaucracy and they cannot listen to everyone. It is not their job and that gap needs to be filled, which can be done by holding free and fair elections to pave way for a popular government. The popular government will be a link that is missing,” he said. He further said: “What I gather is that there is a lack of communication between the public and the bureaucracy. Whether good or bad, MLAs play an important role as they are intermediaries between people and the government”. He didn’t just stop here. He also advocated “restoration of full statehood to J&K”.
It appears that Karan Singh is not aware of the outrageous, divisive, unsettling, and threatening statements which all the four former J&K chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Mehbooba Mufti — and ex-ministers, including PDP’s former ideologue Altaf Bukhari and Sajad Lone, and many Congress leaders (all Kashmir-based) made after August 2020 about the Modi’s reform scheme and what they will do if voted to power. They have all threatened the Narendra Modi government that they, if returned to power, will reverse all the decisions taken and implemented in J&K after August 2019; they will scrap the Public Safety Act; they will return to the Zameen jihadis the state/ forest/ kahcharai (grazing) land retrieved from them by the state government during the anti-encroachment drive; they will reintroduce the scrapped Roshni Act under which the encroachers occupied more than 24 lakh kanal state land, mostly in Jammu, and caused a loss to the state exchequer to the tune of Rs.25,000 crore; they will lift the ban imposed on JKLF and Jamaat-e-Islami; they will not allow a single non-Kashmiri to settle in J&K; they will take action against those officials who took part in the anti-encroachment drive; they will not contest the elections on the issues of bijli, pani, and sadak and that they would contest elections on divisive issues; they want “total solution to the Kashmir issue”, etc.
What do elections mean?
I fail to understand why Karan Singh vouched for elections and full state status to J&K. Does not he know who will recapture the state power if Assembly elections are held in J&K? Those who muddied Indian waters, promoted separatism, patronized terrorists, advocated the Pakistani cause, converted Kashmir hundred percent, changed Jammu’s demography, fleeced India by browbeating, blackmailing and threatening and destroyed Jammu and Ladakh will recapture the state power. How? We don’t need rocket science to understand this. They will win all the 47 hundred percent Muslim seats in Kashmir and also win at least 9 to 10 Muslim-majority seats in Jammu province. In other words, they will win at least 57 seats in the 90-member Assembly. It must remain a matter of concern that Karan Singh has ignored the ground realities and vouched for something which is fraught with dangerous ramifications.
Elections in J&K would automatically mean retransfer of the state power to those who consider India an aggressor and non-Kashmiris outsiders. In other words, it would mean the re-emergence of a situation under which they enjoyed extraordinary, absolute, and unbridled legislative, executive, judicial, financial, and residuary powers to keep J&K aloof from India and play break-India games with the help of the Indian taxpayers’ money. To be more precise, they will recapture the Assembly; civil secretariat; Home, Finance, Revenue, Law, General Administration and Forest Departments and the office of the Advocate General – departments and the office they misused to the hilt to hurt India, promote separatism and terrorism, cause grievous injuries to Jammu province and Ladakh and colonize them and render the citizens of these two regions unreal and ineffective for all practical purposes and so on and so forth.
The solution to the problems afflicting J&K UT doesn’t lie in elections; it lies in the bifurcation of J&K UT and the grant of full state status to Jammu province and Chandigarh-type UT status to Kashmir. Karan Singh, who himself demanded in 1966 separation of Jammu from Kashmir, would do well to appreciate the ground realities as they exist in J&K, revise his whole formulation and seek separation of Jammu from Kashmir to limit the area of conflict to Kashmir. He must if he is the nation’s well-wisher and friend.
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
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He who does not know that he knows – shun him