Indian ministry says Kashmir doesn't need self-rule, autonomy
29 March 2006
The Daily Times
Islamabad: The Indian Home Ministry believe Jammu and Kashmir has enough autonomy in both “literal” and “constitutional” terms and that there is no need for “maximum autonomy” and “self-rule” for the state as espoused by the National Conference (NC), the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf. In its annual report for 2005-06, the Indian Home Ministry, while maintaining that Jammu and Kashmir has its own Constitution and has freedom to legislate on various subjects, has expressed concern at the activities of ‘over-ground workers’ (OGWs) of militant groups. The report also promises to explore the feasibility of a bus service between Kargil and Skardu on the pattern of the Srinagar- Muzaffarabad bus service and also to take up the opening of the Ladakh-Mansarovar route with the Chinese government. While discussing internal security and Jammu and Kashmir, the official report says that through Article 370, Jammu and Kashmir enjoys special status in Indian Constitution. “The state list-II is not applicable to Jammu and Kashmir and also the power of legislation in respect of residuary matters lies with the state, whereas for other states, it lies with the parliament,” the report said. Also the elections to the state legislature are held under the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, whereas for other states, they are held under provisions of the Constitution of India. The report also says that the government has kept the door open for dialogue and has extended offers of talks from time to time to different organisations and sections of society. On the security front, the annual report claims that violence has come down considerably. During the year 2005, 1,990 violence incidents took place as compared to 2,565 incidents during 2004. During the year, 557 civilians lost their lives as compared to 707 in 2004. The number of security force personnel killed in 2005 was 189, compared to 281 in 2004. Further, 917 militants were killed compared to 976 in the preceding year. The report claims that the operations of the security forces over the last few months have achieved notable successes including neutralisations of a large number of senior commanders of major militant outfits, but expresses concern at the activities of over- ground workers. “The activities of OGWs include recruiting local youth for joining terrorist ranks, collecting funds for sustaining terrorist activities, forced recruitment of local boys and extending them logistical support, highlighting alleged human rights violations, instigating people to demonstrate on trivial grounds and demoralising and discrediting the security forces,” the report said. Mentioning the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s meeting with the leaders of the moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference, the report said that a review of cases of detention under the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act had been completed and rejected Hurriyat allegations that there was no follow up. “It was decided to investigate all cases of human rights violations within a time frame of 90 days, constitute a three-member team to examine the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of security forces for making them simpler and more people friendly and distribute a handy card listing the do’s and don’ts to security personnel as a constant reminder of the sanctity of human rights,” the official report stated. On economic development, the report has stated that the Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Plan with an outlay of Rs 240 billion aimed to strengthen the economic and social infrastructure and balanced development of the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir. The package includes power (Rs 150.52 billion), roads (Rs 9.98 billion), assistance for external borrowings for infrastructure (Rs 5.81 billion), education (Rs 1.42 billion), health (Rs 1.20 billion), physical infrastructure for civic amenities (Rs 48.84 billion), tourism (Rs 5.17 billion), agriculture and food processing (Rs 1.01 billion), other industrial promotion related measures (Rs 780 million), other employment measures (Rs 1.63 billion) and assistance to the dislocated and the families of victims of militancy (Rs 75 million).