J&K – The issues around the state

[op-ed snap] Task in the Valleyop-ed snap

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing much

Mains level : The road ahead for JnK


Context

After the decision to divide Jammu & Kashmir into two Union Territories, much remains to be done. 

Abrogation of 370

  • Government and its functionaries have described and defended the decisions as necessitated by the need to “develop” a state that had lagged behind the rest of the country on economic and social fronts due to its special status. 

Jobs pending

  • Dividing the manpower and material resources of the state is not over.
  • The government is yet to allow the people of the Valley to speak out, and be heard on decisions that affect them the most. 
  • The government’s plans to bring J&K up to speed are not yet known.

Recent Elections

  • The Block Development Council election has shown that creating a new leadership is difficult in situations as fraught as in the Valley. 
  • The BDC is elected indirectly; elected panchs and sarpanchs of a particular block of villages vote to elect one among them as the head of that block council. 
  • Almost a year after the last round of J&K panchayat polls, many of these representatives of the people at the bottom-most tier of electoral democracy continue to seek refuge, away from their villages. 
  • The persistence of fear underlines the questions of legitimacy about an electoral exercise at the end of which many seats lay vacant and most of those elected were elected unopposed.

What lies ahead

  • How the conversion of a state into two UTs resolves the 70-year-long troubled relationship between Kashmir and the rest of India, and between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. 
  • The recent killing of five migrant workers in Kulgam, on the heels of other deadly attacks on non-residents, shows that peace may remain elusive. 
  • Any efforts in the direction of development would need the participation of the people for whom this development is meant. 
  • The government needs to free the political leaders and workers who have been detained and allow people to freely express their views in the Valley.

Conclusion

The first step towards resolving a problem is to acknowledge it. Political alienation that has spread and deepened over generations is a large part of the crisis in Kashmir. Unless it is addressed politically, it will persist and continue to impose a heavy toll in the Valley, and the country.

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