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EDITORIAL

The Fourth Estate

The Governor and the Chief Minister both seem to be obsessed with the media making "judgments", which they have run down while speaking at the inaugural function of Jammu Tribune. May be they had some specific instances in their mind to which they alluded only subtly. This was not the occasion to raise controversy. Nevertheless, they have raised some important issues in regard to the mandate which civil society gives to the Furth Estate. The fact is that things have changed drastically, and the times in which we are living today are markedly very different from the times in which civil society had laid down the contours of status, respectability . . ....more

Navratra rush

On the first day of nine-day festival of Navratra, as many as 34,000 pilgrims came to have darshan at the holy cave of Mata Vaishno Devi. Katra is brimming with pilgrims and pilgrimage activities. Authorities expect a great rush during Navratra especially when it falls along the weekend which is off days. According to reports received, the Government has made satisfactory arrangements of security and other services to facilitate comfortable pilgrimage for people who come from far off places in various parts of the country. The police sources said that all security measures have been taken to ensure safe and secure pilgrimage. Even policemen in plain clothes have been deployed along more sensitive parts of the distance between Katra and the holy cave. In Katra town, which is the base headquarter for the pilgrims to proceed on uphill track, there is big rush and the arrangements are also equally compatible. But the rush at Katra is bound to increase in due course of time and the .. ....more

The past is more than memory

By M.J.Akbar

Dr Henry Kissinger had just become America's Secretary of State when Egypt's President Anwar Sadat surprised the world and stunned his Arab world by launching a successful war against Israel on 6 October 1973, the day of Yom Kippur. Within 24 hours Egyptian troops had crossed the Red Sea and raced . . . .....more

What we learn from TV serials

By O P Modi

In our country today, practically, TV is seen in every home or a Jhugi.. Most of the viewers spend hours watching either a News channel or the one that shows ......more

Scam after scam after scam......

TALES OF TRAVESTY
By DR. JITENDRA SINGH

Health department scam, NHRM scam, Cricket Association scam, Yusuf Shah cash-for- vote cum murder scam, foster examination papers scam, land encroachment scam, defence land scam, fictitious teachers' salary scam, ,. . .....more

Refugees at receiving end

By Ramesh Arora

Problems of refugees started in 1947 when large scale killings took place immediately when division of the country was accepted and announced. Migration started from West Pakistan and PoK. During this turmoil many innocent lost their lives in PoK, West Pakistan . .....more

EDITORIAL

The Fourth Estate

The Governor and the Chief Minister both seem to be obsessed with the media making "judgments", which they have run down while speaking at the inaugural function of Jammu Tribune. May be they had some specific instances in their mind to which they alluded only subtly. This was not the occasion to raise controversy. Nevertheless, they have raised some important issues in regard to the mandate which civil society gives to the Furth Estate. The fact is that things have changed drastically, and the times in which we are living today are markedly very different from the times in which civil society had laid down the contours of status, respectability and credibility norms for the institution of public information. Economic advancement related to mechanization of civil society, expansion of vision and aspirations thrown up by that vision have caused deep impact on the role of media. Additionally, the media itself has seen a sea change with IT calling the shots.
It is not the desk-book democratic dispensation with which the media has to deal in this country. Our political jurisprudence has become extremely complicated, circuitous and innovative. Media reporters, commentators, analysts and publishers are required to go through a labyrinth of concerns before going public. There are wheels within wheels that need to be negotiated at different levels and from different angles. Without mincing words let us be aware that impartiality and objectivity, the hallmark of the Fourth Estate, have become a casualty of politics of power. The politics that pushes national interests to the back burner cannot expect the media to plead its case according to its wishes. Under the pretext of political expediency, governments show less sensitivity in violating the established norms of good governance. Despite checks and balances, governments devise means and methods to circumvent procedures. How should the press respond to these "exigencies" is the crux of the issue. When political parties especially those in power refuse to observe transparency in public dealing, they stimulate skepticism and force the media to make speculations which may or may not be true. Had they been transparent, the media would have no occasion or opportunity to distort facts and draw irrational conclusions as is sometimes alleged.
As a watch dog, media will sniff at everything and at every place. It looks for input whatever the source. It will crosscheck the qualitative substance of the input to establish the veracity of a given situation. Obviously in the pursuit of this exercise, the media will have a variety of sources and a variety of input. Its task is to inform the public and to sensitize public reaction. We agree that the media should not judge but the judgment likely to emanate from the public is invariably catalyzed by what the media offers as food for thought. Put in plain but blunt words non-judgment role of the media is closely related to how the government exercises its powers and privileges.
But with all said and done, the Governor and the CM have a point of view. In the first place, the media has to fiercely maintain its impartiality. The impression that the media is always critical of the Government is not correct and needs to be changed. Opposition means one thing and healthy criticism other. There are many things which a Government has to hold back from the public for some time for some definite reasons. The press has to give margin to the government for such situations. It has to desist from jumping at the conclusions. The Government may not explain publicly the reasons for delaying decision or taking a certain position. That does not entitle the media to jump at a conclusion and pronounce judgment. It is unfair. It is the duty of the media to ensure that it does not behave in a partisan manner. Nothing is more obnoxious to the public than any section of media adopting partisan attitude. It loses credibility. What the Governor and the CM said is based on their experience in dealing with the media. As such these views have to be shown due respect. The media carries a big responsibility on its shoulders and it must prove its importance by becoming the real watchdog of public opinion.

Navratra rush

On the first day of nine-day festival of Navratra, as many as 34,000 pilgrims came to have darshan at the holy cave of Mata Vaishno Devi. Katra is brimming with pilgrims and pilgrimage activities. Authorities expect a great rush during Navratra especially when it falls along the weekend which is off days. According to reports received, the Government has made satisfactory arrangements of security and other services to facilitate comfortable pilgrimage for people who come from far off places in various parts of the country. The police sources said that all security measures have been taken to ensure safe and secure pilgrimage. Even policemen in plain clothes have been deployed along more sensitive parts of the distance between Katra and the holy cave. In Katra town, which is the base headquarter for the pilgrims to proceed on uphill track, there is big rush and the arrangements are also equally compatible. But the rush at Katra is bound to increase in due course of time and the Shrine Board authorities should be alive to the requirements of pilgrims. In the first place the rail link between Udhampur and Katra has to be brought to completion on priority basis. This will ease the hassle full journey for pilgrims from distant parts of the country. Katra town is developing fast despite very little plain space available. Nevertheless its development should be systematic and not haphazard. It should not present a picture of chaotic development with no planning. Widening of the track between Katra and Reasi and providing facilities along the link road will be part of the overall development of Katra town. Importance of Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine is increasing day by day and it naturally calls for involvement of the government in responding to the requirements of the pilgrims. Tourism aspect connected with the pilgrimage should also be taken care of. The Shrine Board should have a regular development cell to propose plans and programmes for the development of the places connected with the pilgrimage. It must look beyond the present and plan accordingly.

The past is more than memory

By M.J.Akbar

Dr Henry Kissinger had just become America's Secretary of State when Egypt's President Anwar Sadat surprised the world and stunned his Arab world by launching a successful war against Israel on 6 October 1973, the day of Yom Kippur. Within 24 hours Egyptian troops had crossed the Red Sea and raced across the Sinai desert to recover territory lost in 1967. At the end of that fateful day, Kissinger sent a simple but powerful private message to Sadat through a non-official channel: 'You have begun the war with Soviet weapons, but you will need the power of American diplomacy to establish a peace'. Sadat understood. Israel's counteroffensive was inevitable, shifting the course of war. America and Soviet Union went on high alert. It was America which helped establish not only the ceasefire lines that have held to this day, but also, over the next five years, negotiate the tripartite settlement between Sadat, Menachem Begin and Jimmy Carter that still constitutes the framework of peace in the region. It was the kind of role that Delhi could have, and indeed should have, played in the Sri Lanka civil war that ended in such a bloody climax in January 2009. The DMK was in power in both Tamil Nadu and Delhi nthen, but it accepted the policy of restraint crafted by Dr Manmohan
Singh and his foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee. That was wise. But wisdom petered out when the Congress-DMK alliance simply forgot that
wars do not necessarily end with defeat; and in the specific case of Lanka Tamils, they had an obligation to ensure a comprehensive rehabilitation of Tamils that accommodated post-defeat realities. The message that Delhi should have sent to Colombo is obvious: 'You have won the war with others' weapon, but you will need Delhi to find peace.' However, the UPA government walked away from this responsibility, even though Tamil Nadu voted for the DMK-Congress alliance in the summer of 2009, which in turn played a decisive part in the re-election of UPA. Perhaps the momentum was lost when Pranab Mukherjee left external affairs to go to finance, but a shift in portfolios cannot absolve a government whose first duty is protection of the national interest. Delhi refused to use the power of Indian diplomacy to eliminate the
reasons that had led to the Lanka civil war. Kissinger, conversely, ensured the withdrawal of Israeli troops on Egyptian soil but recognised the necessity of letting Egyptians keep their military gains since they had repossessed their own territory from Israel.
He understood that Egypt could not negotiate even an interim settlement with Israel as long as its land was under Israeli control. But in the three years that have passed since the death of Tamil Tigers leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran, Delhi has behaved as if the Tamil problem in Lanka was over, and the past is a bad memory which should be allowed to lapse in silence. But the past is never so cooperative, particularly if there are demons hidden in its fog. Guilt is something that governments rarely, and foreign policy establishments never, admit. One wonders if there is a story of Delhi's collusion with Colombo during the last phase of the war, when some 40,000 civilians were allegedly butchered, that this UPA government would prefer to lock in the secrecy of archives? Is UPA worried that public debate will release ghosts that it wants safely buried? The American resolution in the United States will not succeed in punishing anyone in Sri Lanka who committed war crimes. If anything it could increase the domestic popularity of President Rajapakase, who showed the necessary resolve to win a war that had lasted most of a generation. The Tamil Tigers did not fight by any rules; they spread havoc through terrorism when they could. They took the life of a Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi. But it has succeeded in reviving a debate which went quiet, but never disappeared. It was public pressure from Indian Tamils that finally forced DMK and Congress to take a position; they had enough time to take the initiative themselves, but did not do so. Indian diplomats surely do not need the United Nations as a player in what, ideally, should have been part of the bilateral process between India and its neighbour.
The sin of omission was compounded by the sin of commission. The manner in which UPA took this decision betrayed its vacillation and weakness. When foreign policy becomes hostage to coalition compulsions, it is evident that the political class is not doing any thinking. Over the last three years, there has been a sequence of blunders in the neighbourhood, from mentioning Balochistan in a communique with Pakistan to dropping the Teesta ball with Bangladesh and now a faux pas with Sri Lanka. Political uncertainty has made Indian diplomacy weaker than India's weight would warrant. The consequences will last longer than this government.

What we learn from TV serials

By O P Modi

In our country today, practically, TV is seen in every home or a Jhugi.. Most of the viewers spend hours watching either a News channel or the one that shows serials. Some of the serials have lasted for years with new twists being given to the episodes by the directors and writers. This is done by them and other associates when they realise that the viewer's interest is on the decline. There are other ways of judging this. The channel management has engaged viewers who carefully listen to the views of the audience and send regular feed back to their head offices. There are more than 200 TV channels churning out news and entertainment for their viewers, who are more enthusiastic about viewing TV than even their food.
What are these serials like? Some serials show as to how cheat, deceive and fleece money or make some part with his jewelry or even his property. Others have a woman as the head of the family who rules over it as an emperor. She is kind to her sons and daughters but is a terror to the daughter-in-law (Bhoo). While her son-in-law enjoys her confidence the Bhoos are made scapegoat for every thing that goes wrong in the home or with relatives and friends. Poor fellow does not dare to narrate her misery to even her mother who would in return tell her that she herself is responsible for all the meddle.
In one serial the mother (Mata ji) does not allow her four Bhoos to "dethrone" her continuously goes on creating rift between them. Two of the Bhoos are from the same family. When Mata ji smells that they are untidily hatching a plot to weaken her command she counters it by creating a serious wedge them. In another similar serial the all powerful Sas goes on telling her son that he should divorce the Buhoo because she does not obey her. However, all serials are not lesson less. Some serials serve another useful purpose. They not only let the audience learn about the rituals and customs of our countries' traditions but also create a sense of belonging to one Nation. The popular trend is that many families have taken to these and observe them on appropriate occasions. This is a great asset for the national integration. Because learning and adopting customs of various parts of the nation is the real aim of national integration. It is the real aim of integrating people together. The general theme of the social and cultural serials is like that.
But the worst is the news reporting. The news is as brief as possible and the viewer can hardly get hold of the details. The news reader jumps from one particular news to another without giving much detail. The viewer has to make out the analysis as his perception allows.
On the other hand the news papers provide great amount of reading material to the readers. It consists of news that is provided with elaborate and comprehensive information. This gives the readers a lot of opportunity to learn about the world affairs on day to day basis. Not only that the editor gives in his editorial the papers' views and even suggests to the government such valuable proposals that even the best of its authority has failed to propose to the cabinet or to its functionaries. No TV serial or the news bulletin has done it because of paucity of time. The TV is time bounded. It cannot waste even a word because its main aim is to advertise and earn revenue while the news papers management too depend much on advertisements for running their earnings they have large readership which allows their papers' success. The difference is that newspaper allows their readers to study it at leisure and whenever they like to do so.
The essence of the material difference between TV and news paper is the pleasurable reading at will and time bound hearing of news or watching a serial on TV.
However, the purpose here is not to denigrate the watching of TV but to qualify the news paper reading as the news paper today has become best friend of people as the books were once upon a time; of course with the exception of the book worms.

Scam after scam after scam......

TALES OF TRAVESTY
By DR. JITENDRA SINGH

Health department scam, NHRM scam, Cricket Association scam, Yusuf Shah cash-for- vote cum murder scam, foster examination papers scam, land encroachment scam, defence land scam, fictitious teachers' salary scam, cross-voting scam, Sher-e-Kashmir employment scheme scam, Dal lake scam, fallacious voter lists scam.... scam, scam and scam.
If an outsider was to scan through local newspapers of last six months, he would inevitably conclude that any front page news emanating from Jammu and Kashmir is invariably related to one or the other scam thus projecting the state of J&K as a state of scams quite in contrast to similes of earlier times glorifying the two capital cities.. Jammu as a city of temples and Srinagar as a city of lakes. Ironically today, even the temples of Jammu and the lakes of Kashmir are linked to unsavoury scams.
While various political parties in the State are seen helplessly dealing with scams and scandals within their respective organisations.. rape, murder or extortion, the ruling coalition government, which took over three years ago with the promise of ushering in a new era under the socalled dynamism of a socalled "young'' leadership, has also reduced itself to be a helpless hierarchy presiding over uninvestigated scams and unpunished scamsters.
Incidentally, till about ten years ago, the state of Jammu and Kashmir was relatively untarnished by the stigma of corruption that had gained notoriety in other states like Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. But then, of late, as if out of vengeance, Jammu and Kashmir has bounced back to the top to claim No. 2 or No. 1 ranking as the most corrupt state in the country. To that extent atleast, Jammu and Kashmir is now in national mainstream... as corrupt or even more corrupt than any other state of India.
From an all-India perspective... a strange quirk of fate ! On the eve of India's independence in 1947, Sir Winston Churchill, who was totally unreconciled to the idea of freedom for India, had predicted that just within 50 years after being let free, India will turn into a wretched State.. marred by corruption, mismanagement and indiscipline with the grim prospect of slipping back by several centuries into medieval times. Churchill did prove partly right when soon after independence, stray cases of corruption began to surface... the most notorious in those times being the infamous Mudra scandal unfolded by none else than the Prime Minister Nehru's own son-in-law Feroze Gandhi. On a later occasion, Nehru went on record to state that he would rather prefer such functionaries in his administration who were little corrupt but absolutely efficient over those who were absolutely incorruptible but inefficient.
And today, as a result of progressive steady decline, we have come to such a pass. To make crores through dubious means and then to be in and out of jail for some time followed by a lifespan full of luxury and comfort has become the order of the day. On the other hand, the ruling polity both at the Centre as well as State has improved upon Jawaharlal Nehru's self-righteous dictum and, instead of reconciling to efficient but corrupt, gone one step further to reconcile to inefficient who are also corrupt.Most unfortunate, however, is the predicament of common man who has to suffer for the deeds of corrupt few who pilfer public money without realising that this public money was also meant for use by their own children. Umapathy drops the poetic refrain ‘‘Aaj Deewar Kha Gayi Saaya, Aaj Maine Yeh Vaakya Dekha.....’’

 

 

Refugees at receiving end

By Ramesh Arora

Problems of refugees started in 1947 when large scale killings took place immediately when division of the country was accepted and announced. Migration started from West Pakistan and PoK. During this turmoil many innocent lost their lives in PoK, West Pakistan and in other parts. People from PoK were compelled to take shelter/refugee on this side of the state. But till date they are not treated equally. 24 seats are reserved under the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir for them. Why they are not being given their due share in exile, by creating separate constituencies? There must be will to do the same and the same is missing. Rs. 25,000 were sanctioned as rehabilitation plan for few families in some parts of the country but those who opted for Jammu and Kashmir did not get the same treatment.
West Pakistan refugees are facing the worst type of discrimination. They have not been given the right to vote in State Panchayat, local bodies and member legislative assembly elections. In 2008 election, Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh, while addressing a public meeting at Satwari Chowk said, "I am also a refugee" and assured all possible assistance but the sufferers are still struggling for dignified, respectable and equitable settlement.
Jammu has reflected great vision and mindset of national approach. It accepted every migration that was either from PoK, West Pakistan, war migrants of 1965, 71 and other migrations of peace time. Year 1989 again faced migration from the other part of the State and this time also more than three lakh were compelled to leave their houses from Kashmir.
Kashmir is still waiting return of migrants which is in national interest but Government has failed to create an atmosphere for safe return with dignity and respect. There was migration from Doda. Poonch, Rajouri, Reasi and other parts of the Jammu region. No specific rehabilitation or return plan has been made by the Government till date.
In 2012 Assembly session the Government took note of the plight of refugees. But no amendment in legislation was made to redress this problem.
Hon'ble Supreme Court was approached by few in this connection. The legal battle was also fought to get human rights, which were violated by Jammu & Kashmir Govt. Supreme Court in AIR 1987 page 1169 decided the petition by Hon'ble Judge O. Chinnappa Reddy and Hon'ble Judge S. C. S. Nata Ranjan W. P. Civil No. 7698 D on February 20, 1987 titled Bachan Lal Kalgotra V/s State of Jammu and Kashmir and others.
Petitioner projected them grievances of people who migrated from West Pakistan on painful partition. The enlisted the grievances like denial to right in matter of elections to State Assembly, appointment in services, acquisition of immovable property etc, by the J&K Government. Hon'ble Supreme Court observed "that a petitioner have a justifiable grievance. We are told that they constitute seven to eight per cent of the population of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. In the particular context of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the union of India also owes an obligation to make some provisions for the advancement of the cultural economic and education rights of these persons. We do hope that the claims of persons like the petitioners and others to exercise greater rights of citizenship will receive due consideration from the Union of India and State of Jammu and Kashmir." But this observation does not find any place in legislation of State or Centre and they (refugees) failed to get justice and denial of Human Rights continued.
A committee was constituted vide Govt. Order Rev/REHAB/151 of 2007 and it submitted its report over the demands and problems of displaced persons, the reference also include problems of displaced persons of 1947, 1965, 1971, PoK and displaced person from West Pakistan. The committee was asked not but were only to identify the problems, directed to suggest adequate measures for addressing the problems. 31, 619 PoK Displaced families were registered with Provincial Rehabiliation organization, which was disbanded by the State Govt. in 1982.
A little bit of effort was made vide cabinet order 578-C of 1954 Dt. 07.05.1954 and 21, 116 families were settled in different parts of the State 6,80,850 kanal of E. P. Land and 243000 kanal of State land was allotted to them as per official report. These facts require verification on ground as the record is for away from gound reality.
Govt order No. 254-C of 1965 gave right of ownership with respect to land and tenancy rights were provided in evacuee land u/s 3 (A) of the Agrarian reform Act 1975.
Ex-gratia payment @ 25000 per family to those displaced person from PoK who were held in Pak captivity between September 1947 and December 1950. And same amount was fixed for those who did not stay in campus but with certain conditions. Rs. 25000 Ex-gratia per family., where head of family did not move alongwith family before cut off date was another condition imposed for sufferer. Ex-gratia relief was subject to the condition that income of each family did not exceed 300 per month. Such type of conditions reflect intention of the State Government to harass the persons/refugees who were forced to migrate from their houses in abnormal conditions.
State Government has reduced this compensation for rural settler @ 7000/- appropriate 10,000 families did not get the relief till date even after registration. We can imagine a situation where members of a family were killed. Some lost elder members, some lost whole families. No record, no evidence was there to establish their claims.
Even after 65 years of independence full data is not available and so called records were prepared by the State Government and as per these records from West Pakistan total 5,764 families constituting 47,215 heads migrated and settled in Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri Distt. 46,466 kanal state/EP land was retained by these taking the benefit of cabinet order No. 578C/1954. In 1965 migrants was settled in 6 or 7 villages. 15000 families uprooted. 1971 war refugee were given so called package, 1965 claim made 1987 verified but still struggling to get their dues as non camp DPS of 1971.
Committee constituted vide Government order No. Rev/REHAB/151 of 2007 Dt. 09.05.2007 under the chairmanship of G.D.Wadhwa started its functioning on 19.05.2007 and it completed the complicated job with so called solution in seven meetings and shifted responsibility on Public representatives saying "….However, the representative of displaced persons were called upon to furnish the list of families who have not been registered so far as also the details of the compensation and pending deficiency in land in respect of any category of displaced person. But they could not furnish the details."
31,619 PoK displaced families were registered with erstwhile provincial rehabilitation organizations which was disbanded by the State Government in 1982. The figure means that total heads at initial stage was approximate 1,58095 and in the year 2012 the figure might have touched approximate 9 to 10 lakh.
Record shows that 21,161 families were settled over 6,80,850 kanals of state land allotted to them in complicance of cabinet order No. 578-C of 1954 Dt. 07.05.1954 and vide Government order NO. 254-C of 1965 right of ownership in respect of State land and occupancy tenancy rights with respect to evacuee land were given but the date collected does not show the actual figure.
Solution lies in permanent settlement and a policy to this extent is required to be framed instead of temporary measure. EP Property be allotted with right to ownership. Verification process be simplified. Compensation be given, students be accommodated in Engineering and Medical Colleges by allocation of separate quota. Reservation be provided in professional colleges of the country,8 to 10 seats in Assembly be allotted to them by amending constition of J&K as 24 seats are reserved in PoK but actual control is not with Indian side. Procedure of PRC be simplified by amendment in the constitution of J&K. Autonomous PoK Refugee Development Board be constituted with financial power, refugee leaders should be involved in dialogue process with respect to problems of PoK and till final settlement. Benefit given to migrants from Kashmir like monthly relief, ration, reservation in professional college be extended. Separate nomination for MLC must be done by amendment in the constitution. Lone facility for business and other schemes be extended.
West Pakistan Refugees of 1947 are worst sufferers and total 5,764 families were registered consisting of 47,215 in number at initial stage without conducting proper survey. They got settled in Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri district of Jammu region. No formal land was allotted but as for Govt. record 46,466 kanal of State land were allowed to be retained under cabinet order No. 578-C of 1954. Civil and Political rights were not granted.
They are not allowed PRC, they can not purchase land, they can vote for Parliament elections but for legislative assembly they are still demanding their right to vote and representation. In March 2012 refugee action committee marched towards Jantar-Mantar at Delhi and are continuing their protest at present to get justice.
They should be provided separate set up to meet out basic amenities of life and funds should be allocated and job oriented policy be framed being worst sufferer.
SC/ST/OBC and benefits of social castes be extended to them. Special package of centrally sponsored schemes be made applicable and state should formulate a separate policy with human approach, state is inclined to settle few militants residing across the border, why these person are ignored?
Custodian property be allocated to them and they should not be refrained from construction, rather ownership rights be extended over the custodian property.
Domicile certificate should be issued by simplifying the policy.



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