Few days back, ‘The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2021’, was introduced in the parliament by the Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy to amend the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019 that bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories (UT) . Although the bill was introduced to merge the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) cadre of civil services officers with the Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Mizoram Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre but before this bill was brought speculations went high again in entire J&K as everyone was nerved up with a thought that this bill could grant statehood back to Jammu and Kashmir. I must confess that I too had the same feeling! However, G Kishan Reddy supported this development by saying that the government was working to take J&K on the path of development.
While all this was still not over in the parliament, Ghulam Nabi Azad in the Rajya Sabha again demanded the restoration of statehood to J&K. Further, all the froth surrounding this bill settled after Union Home Minister Amit Shah while debating on the matter made it clear that Jammu and Kashmir would get the statehood back at an ‘appropriate time’. Infact people were given a signal to live with this new normal. This repetitive statement from the Union Home Minister has once again left the local politicians in J&K sulking as they will have to continue to witness Jammu and Kashmir function as a UT under the control of BJP and the Narendra Modi government seems to be in no mood to appease anyone so soon.
One thing is clear that J&K’s statehood will surely be restored one day by some government at centre but the present centre government still wants to continue with its experiments in this new UT and they may continue with this same arrangement till 2024. Besides, it appears that BJP is in no mood to empower the local politicians and wants to handle the J&K on its own until some significant changes are witnessed in this erstwhile state. In the past eighteen months, everything done to push ‘good governance model’ is being taken up with only one focus that ‘J&K had been mismanaged’ for past many decades. And the Kashmir centric politics and politicians who ruled Jammu and Kashmir didn’t pay much attention towards the development amid prevailing confusion and uncertainty in the social system here.
So due to this, at present the entire focus is to show ongoing development of J&K and seek global support in shaping new future for Jammu and Kashmir. But by now many questions also remain unanswered to the people of J&K because of which ‘blink and blink again’ situation has developed on many ongoing matters. How long the gleaming, glowing and beaming presentation of Jammu and Kashmir will be done? How many more times the reorganisation of UT will happen? How much development has happened since 2014 in J&K? How much out of the ‘promised business investment’ has come? How many job opportunities have been provided to the local youth?
Government should be aware of the fact that they are being watched by the people and they cannot continue without doing much on all promised things so easily. Because if this all continues then the wait for an ‘appropriate time’ may completely turn vague and history stands testimony to the fact that many issues remained unaddressed earlier also here. With an approach of selling J&K just as a brand before foreign envoys, there is a strong reason that the long term goals for the Jammu and Kashmir won’t be achieved. The locals who dreamt of ‘acche din’ after 70- long years are thankful but they shouldn’t be taken for granted as they all also dream of going back to ‘J&K state’ in their hearts and mind!
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