September 2016 News

Ground Report From Valley Points To J&K Government's Failure

7 September 2016
Times of India

New Delhi: The PDP-BJP government failed to deal with the Kashmir situation and had not fulfilled its promises while separatists need to be dealt with sternly: this is the feedback compiled by the Centre after the all-party delegation's visit to Kashmir. The summary of issues raised during the delegation's interactions puts together a stark picture of governance deficit and the role of radical madrassas in fuelling the unrest. Though the document is not an official assessment, it reveals the challenges in J&K where governance faces serious hurdles due to terrorism and prolonged security deployment. Issues raised with the delegation ranged from the need to reopen schools, fix accountability for excessive use of force, stop use of pellet guns and even demands for a plebiscite. The summary of issues raised during the all-party delegation's interactions with political parties and other sections in Kashmir lists the need to investigate funding of 'newly built madrasas' and a spurt in radicalisation and the assessment in some quarters that mainstream society will be weakened if the current agitation continues. The document, which MPs said is an accurate reflection of a variety of views they heard, speaks of the need to strengthen measures to stop smuggling of drugs from Pakistan and deal firmly with cross-border terrorism. Corruption was also identified as a 'major issue' in J&K with the delegation being told that no public servant has been investigated for graft so far and that the agenda of the ruling alliance needs to be implemented. The document notes that the protests were most intense in south Kashmir accounting for 84% of the deaths with 29% in Anantnag alone. This also included the deaths of two security personnel. On the whole, 5,560 security force personnel and 7,550 civilians were injured, six persons lost sight completely and 21 in one eye. Some 127 people were admitted to hospitals and 7,423 have been discharged. While the state government's failings were brought to the delegation's notice, MPs were also told that the Hurriyat separatists should be isolated and that arrests under the Public Safety Act should be fair. Release of prisoners and more care to ensure that youths are not harassed were also mentioned. There were calls for a relief package for those hurt or the kin of those killed in the protests and demands that use of pellet guns must be halted. There were complaints that the recruitment processes needed to be more fair. Increased job opportunities and initiatives to set up major industries were also seen as measures to improve the situation. On the political side, some sections suggested the discussions should be held with Pakistan and the Hurriyat. Similarly the delegation was told of the need to review AFSPA and reduce the footprint of the military and paramilitary forces in civilian areas.