ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Much Ado Over Nothing

The report of the interlocutors on Jammu & Kashmir is a major disappointment, for in the end all that it does is unintentionally convince Kashmiris that there is little likelihood of a democratic solution within India that will guarantee them a life of dignity and freedom that they are aspiring for.

India’s institutions of democracy are weighed under their own acts of mis­demeanour, with an egregious loot of public funds, “development” of private greed, skewed priorities, and an obsession with national security, all of which pose a challenge to the country as never before. Thus the “emphasis” in the report on “democratic freedoms” within India and the “new opportunities that India offers in a globalising world” appear incongruous and misplaced.

When we shift from the macro to the micro, the recent manner of appointment of a chief vigilance commissioner (CVC) and a new director-general (DG) of ­police for Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) soon after the report was made public damns the same report. The selection of a retired DG of police who has been implicated by the crime branch in an act of triple ­murder (Case FIR No 7/96, mu/S 302/ 307/384/452/RPC, 3/25 IAA P S Bhaderwah) as the CVC of the state reflects how institutions get subverted by staffing them with tainted and pliable officer/s. And it is the Union ­Ministry of Home ­Affairs (MHA), not the elected state government, which selects the DG of police. Strangely, the report is conspicuously silent on examples of such encroachment into an area of utmost ­importance. If it figures somehow in the proposed agenda of a Constitution Committee it is well hidden. Because, not one of the 20 entries that the report wants shifted from List III of the Seventh Schedule to the State List even hints at this. Instead, the report is explicit in allowing Parliament to enact laws in the name of “internal and external security”. The fact is that J&K is even worse off than Delhi and Goa, two union territories, which ­recently had a brush with the MHA over the unilateral transfer and ­appointments of ­officers of the ­Indian Administrative Service and Indian ­Police Service.

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