Some intriguing questions are surfacing about who should enjoy the priority of dealing with internally disturbed situation and how and with what mandate? These questions are now haunting both the central and the State Government? It is an irony that a country faced with gravest internal disorder in some of its parts should be caught in the midst of a raging controversy as to who has the final word on meeting the challenges like terrorism, kidnapping for ransom, taking hostages, negotiating with the kidnappers etc. In the US, there happened the 9/11. Within days the laws and institutions supposed to deal with such a grave threat to the nation either reframed or revised and upgraded the laws to converge into a central authority given the name of homeland security. Our constitution has distributed powers into three lists. Its workability is not under question. But we are certainly faced with a situation that poses gravest threat to our national sovereignty and territorial integrity. A host of situations have arisen where we are not clear who is to handle what. Take the case of National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC). It is after two decades of ongoing fight against hydra-headed terror and internal subversion that the Union Government tumbled on the idea of an organization like NCTC. Well, trusting the doggerel that better late than never, no sooner was the idea floated than voices were raised by half a dozen chief ministers calling it trespassing on their realms and subverting the constitutional provisions which allow a measure of autonomy to the federating states. They claim that security is the State subject and the centre can intervene or play a role only if and when it is formally approached by the State Government. We agree that that is the constitutional position of the states in the Indian Federation but then looking at the US, we find that the States there have much more autonomy and powers than our states have. But notwithstanding that, the federating states of the US did not put up any resistance to the formation of Homeland Security institution. The results of this measure are before us. No terrorist incident has happened in the US after 9/11.
The PM has called a meeting of State Chief Ministers on May 5 in New Delhi and NCTC is the exclusive agenda to be taken up for serious discussion. It is good that an important issue like NCTC will be discussed in democratic manner and views will be recorded on all sides. The approach is in true democratic spirit and has to be appreciated. But then the deliberations have to be objective and realistic in the background of broad national interests. None of the dissenting chief ministers can say that he or she is capable of meeting the challenge of terrorists on his or her own, and without need for assistance from the Central Government. The fact is that what is happening is a proxy war and not just insurrection. In a proxy war, extraneous elements instigate the locals to rise and fight against their home government providing them with arms, ammunition, funds, infrastructure, training, and above all secure for them support of local populace by instilling widespread threats of death and kidnapping. This threat cannot be met with and overcome just by whipping up jingoistic slogans of autonomy or state etc. An objective understanding of such a situation will unfold its ramifications and at the same time assure the chief ministers that there are occasions when national interests should supersede all other interests. We are told that one of the reasons why Naxalites were emboldened to expand their anti-state activities was that they received covert support and sympathy by political leaders sitting in the Legislative Assembly or the Parliament and even in the Council of Ministers. This is an unacceptable situation, and if the Central Government at times has been over doing things it has had some logic.
We believe that the centre has to be vested with some special powers through constitutional amendments that can deal with facets of terrorism, kidnapping for ransom, taking hostages and negotiating terms etc. In the forthcoming meeting of the Chief Ministers with the PM in New Delhi, the subtle point to be kept in mind is that muscleman-ship of whatever colour and dimension it is at local level, is extremely dangerous in overall national context and has to be nipped in the bud. NCTC does not erode their powers rather ensures the perpetuation of peace in the states.
The election to the most honourable and prestigious post of the country, the President of India is going to be held shortly and the names of some personalities have figured for the same. There are two personalities from our state also who are competent to be considered for this post namely Dr Karan Singh and Dr Farooq Abdullah. Dr Karan Singh being the son of last Maharaja of a princely state enjoys the respect throughout the country. He has a long experience of social and political life. He landed into the field of governance at the tender age of 18 when he was appointed as regent of erstwhile princely state of Jammu & Kashmir in 1949. Since then he has not been out from the politics. He has served as Sadre-Riyasat, governor, member parliament, union minister of various departments like Tourism and Civil Aviation, Health and Family Planning, Education &Culture. He has also served as Indian ambassador to United States. He is a top class educationist having acquired a Ph.D from Delhi University. He has also served as chancellor of some prestigious universities like Benaras Hindu university and Jawahar Lal Nehru university and a Padma Vibhushn awardee. He has also been associated with many religious, social, and cultural organisations and is also the president of Indian Council for Cultural Relations. So he has a vast experience in politics including the state, national and international politics, a social and a brilliant personality and hence is a deserving candidate to be considered for the post of President of India. Likewise Dr Farooq Abdullah who is also having a vast experience in politics and also a well known personality on national and international level is also a fit candidate for the top job.
D R Bhagat
Ekta Vihar Kunjwani
Promoting tourism in J&K
Tourism is one of the major emerging sectors in Jammu and Kashmir contributing remarkably in its economy. Tourism is gradually coming up as one of the largest service sectors in J&K. Our State is dotted with a number of attractive and tourist-favourable destinations including world famous Kashmir Valley- the so called “Paradise on Earth”. J&K has adequate potential to attract huge number of tourists from various parts of the country as well as abroad owing to the presence of places having splendid natural beauty where Indian as well as foreign tourists throng in good number. Tourism suffered a major jolt in over last two decades and now since last year Kashmir Valley is sailing through peaceful atmosphere thereby hosting huge number of tourists to Kashmir. Department of tourism, Govt. of J&K State has taken a number of initiatives to develop more and more places of tourist interest to boost tourism sector. A number of tourist-friendly packages are on anvil to boost tourism industry especially religious or pilgrimage tourism, adventure tourism, medical tourism and so on. In this context, some new projects like laying out of plans to develop of artificial lakes on the banks of major rivers, e.g Tawi river besides developing gardens and parks are under way. In addition, the innovative idea of renovating Mubarak Mandi Complex as a heritage site is praise-worthy move. The renovation work involving its artistic and architectural facelift will add to make it a symbol of Duggar heritage and culture of erstwhile Dogra Rulers. The city of temples will have a unique heritage site for the coming generations to know about our culture and roots. It will be an additional site for the outside visitors where they can have an insight glimpse about ethnicity of the Jammuites or the Dogras – the warriors of the erstwhile Riyasat of Jammu and Kashmir.
Due attention of the concerned authorities is drawn towards some historical sites and forts in remote parts of three regions of our State. Few of them are in dilapidated condition or partly in ruins but still they do contain antique pages of the past and need to be preserved.
Lokinder Singh Ravi
85, Chhanni Rama