No doubt more needs be done but surely after 2019 an era with meaningful difference has arrived for UT of J&K
The UT of J&K is still under President Rule even after nearly 5 years of when it was imposed in 2018. Union Government had very earnestly set first priorities on programmes & policies for return of peace and stability in the areas of the UT of J&K and UT of Ladakh. No doubt elements/ subjects to be addressed and settled were and are more demanding w.r.t to the areas in Kashmir Division of UT. The Lieutenant Governor has been all these years been working for setting first task in the needs of ‘one’ standing in the last row and for that to also ensure that basic elements of govt. machinery (‘public servants ) too are given rational & unbiased treatment as regards service matters. Some people may still opine that the needs of common man have not been fully addressed but at the same it has to be accepted that some good has also been done for which there could be no better a quote than action of the LG administration to completely flush away ( by issuing S.O. 425 on 06-09-2022 ) the bad policies/ rules like SRO -202 of 30-06-2015 and it shadows resting in SO 192 of 17-06-2020 which was a very cruel tools shaped by “elected government” to exploit the needy youth appointed against regular substantive post ( even that of Assistant Surgeons/ Medical Officers in Health Department) .
The seats in the Legislative Assembly of UT of J&K (LA of J&K) for the areas that have formed the part of UT out of the State of J&K had been increased from 83 to 90, number / location of seats for SC were to be reviewed and above all for the first time provisions for reservations for Schedule Tribe in LA of UT had also been made. Ofcourse to address the inadequacies of proper representations to the differently placed people and areas of erstwhile state of J&K that were now included in UT of J&K there was must need for appointment of a Delimitation Commission (which earlier had been pushed to beyond 2031 AD ) for deciding the limits and nature of single member constituencies of LA before elections could be held and for that also to provide a representative of nearness in time/ distance to people of UT of J&K the Delimitation Commission was appointed in 2020 and the ‘open’ injustice done to under privileged areas/ people over last 7 decades has been surely reduced to some extent ( if not totally) with issue of delimitation order of 2022. No doubt someone may express concern about no announcement for election having be made yet but that may also soon happen.
Ofcourse like Delimitation of Legislative Assembly segments done after 31-10-2019 people of some distance and backward areas of J&K had very eagerly started hoping that soon the unfair reorganizations of district administrative units as done in 1979 ( SRO 306 of 6/6/1979 increasing districts in Kashmir valley from 3 to 6 and not increasing districts outside Valley beyond then existing 6) and 2007 ( SRO 185 of 22 May 2007 increasing districts in K Valley from 6 to 10 as against only 7 recommended by Wazir Commission in 1984 and in Jammu Division also from 6 to 10 only where the Wazir Commission had recommended atleast 9 districts in 1984). In Kashmir Valley new district of Shopian was carved out just with one tehsil and only 312 sq km (612.19 sq km ? ) area & Ganderbal with 259 sq km area where as Rajouri District in 2007 already with 7 tehsils spread over 2630 sq Km was not even split into two districts. Not only that somewhere in 2014 instead of making corrections one tehsil of Shopian was further in a way split into 7 tehsils where as in Rajouri district tehsils were increased only from 7 to 13 .No doubt so far the imbalances have not been done away but may surely be “under consideration”.
The issues related to the families displaced in 1947 from the areas of J&K State occupied by Pakistan have all these years been not only subjected to neglectful treatment to the extent of not providing them adequate financial support inproportion to the properties / assets left behind by individual families & other rehabilitation supports like reservations in services/ education etc but not even a regular registration/ number count of these families had been initiated in earlier years. IT has been only after 2019 that atleast the process for registration of families who might not be included in “31619” count and may also be living in other Indian states has been initiated. No doubt questions have been raised on Government of India deciding to wind up the carpet of demands/ claims of POJK DP ( 1947) families in the Rs.5.5 Lakh / family one time financial assistance sanctioned in 2016 but the initiative still deserved appreciations and since the process of resubmission of the due demands to government is still continuing so surely it can be hoped that government in coming times would surely shed the 2016 policy of one time settlement including taking some leads from the 183rd Parliament Committee report presented in Parliament in December 2014 as regards f POJKDPS1947 so that every family s gets support ‘atleast’ proportionate to the suffered material losses.
Ofcourse people who might have in earlier years suffered from / may still be suffering from some inadequacies / alleged discriminations in policies as regards development / delivery of services and issues related to employment / social security may still be not satisfied but they must keep their hopes live keeping in view the bad times of political inadequacies & myths and disturbed state of affairs that prevailed in the earlier years in J&K in a way needed even socio- political common medication in addition to rooting out the foreign aided separatist ‘fixtures’.
To be continued
(The author is a senior journalist and analyst of J&K Affairs, can be reached at [email protected]).