Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo
After a long time it has been observed that the head of the Government in Jammu & Kashmir is not only conscious of his responsibilities and obligations but is also intended to make a difference in the socio-political scenario, politically speaking. This was visible when the Lt. Governor, Manoj Sinha in a meeting with the administration recently expressed his intent in regard to the resettlement of the Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir valley boldly, freely and frankly.
While JKUT LG’s assurances in regard to the KPs are gratifying to note, the actions by a section of the bureaucracy and administration are depressing. On the one hand, there are instructions to make sure that the dream of thousands of youth of Kashmiri Pandit displaced community turns into reality and all benefits to be extended on priority to them, on the other hand there are attempts by a section of the administration to create a wedge between the Government and the displaced community.
This, it seems, is done in order to damage the image of the Modi-led Government at the centre by the very people responsible in the administration to run the affairs of the Government. It is being observed that after every interval, one or the other administrative order is issued to injure the interests of the displaced community to such an extent that the targeted sections are forced to come out to protest against such ‘frivolous and arbitrary orders’. Delays and denials in delivering public services, development works, normal day to day routine matters in regard to the Kashmiri Pandit community are a usual affair, unfortunately.
The aspiring candidates while raising their issue recently observed that the recent order of GAD 586JK (GAD) of 2021 dated 07/07/2021 making S.O. 194 applicable to all those recruits who joined/are going to join on or after 17/06/2020 is completely “arbitrary, full of contradictions and irrational and needs to be withdrawn and cancelled immediately”. The selected candidates under the PM package are explicitly a specific class of recruits under the scheme of the Government, applicability of S.O. 194 is the antithesis of the Recruitment scheme. The Order so issued on 7 July 2021 doesn’t provide any rationale for issuing such an order which generally all types of orders and circulars give.
It alters the position of the last 10 years in respect of the PM package recruits by introducing a cut in their salaries while asking the employees to give a number of undertakings at the time of recruitment which differentiates them from the general recruits in Jammu and Kashmir.
The order is also the antithesis of what the LG asked the administration and the staff to do. It creates a ‘class within a class’ with a motive and design to discourage the recruits from joining their services in the Kashmir valley. It also puts a heavy burden on the shoulders of the new recruits who opt to go to the Kashmir valley under the package without any Government accommodation and the normal benefits available to the general recruits in J&K.
The issue of promotions to the JEs working under the PM’s package for the last ten years is also pending and they have been victimised for no fault of theirs. It has made them second class citizens since they were denied their due. Such orders should be revoked and cancelled with immediate effect which otherwise are tantamount to bias, apartheid and gross discrimination against them.
The instructions passed on by the LG of J&K to the bureaucracy and other officers explicitly maintain that the benefits should be extended to the PM package employees on priority, which is a welcome statement. Unfortunately, his words are not supported by the actions on ground of the administration largely. Though there are a good number of officers and staff within the administration who are wedded to the welfare of the displaced community, but their efforts are nullified by the discriminatory actions of those who day in and day out keep on damaging the interests of the Government which pays them for their work. It is indeed an irony that there are “pests” within the J&K administration to damage the deep interests of the Governments both at the Centre and in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir.
Kashmiri Pandit resettlement is a very serious and sensitive issue both for the Government as well as for the displaced community. Registration of all the displaced people of Kashmir, who have remained out of Jammu and Kashmir since 1944, with the J&K Government is a very important step and everyone who is yet unregistered needs to take it seriously. There is enough time, almost a year, available for this particular but essential formality to be completed.
The LG, some two months ago, catagorically clarified that the PM’s Employment package is a confidence building measure and not a resettlement plan, which the representatives of the displaced community have been maintaining over the last more than a decade. If the LG, rest of the Government, administration and the displaced community are on the same page, it is a major achievement.
However, resettlement has four important preludes which everyone should keep in mind and they are as follows.
Reservation or Nomination for Assembly and Parliament for the minorities of Kashmir valley so that they are represented politically in the socio-political spectrum of the UT.
Constitution of a Board under the established legislature process for the protection, preservation and management of all Hindu temples & shrines in the Kashmir valley.
Creation of a Special Crimes Tribunal Court to go into the excesses committed against the minorities of Jammu & Kashmir on the basis of the 1999-decision of the National Human Rights Commission.
Actual Appointment of all the 6,000 aspirant candidates under the PM’s Employment package and building of living accomodation for all of them by the Government in the valley.
These four preludes to the ultimate resettlement of the displaced community are the biggest confidence building measures capable to open new vistas for resettlement. The community’s geo-political aspirations in this regard are also to be taken into consideration before taking concrete steps in this regard.
The LG’s declaration and instructions are indeed reassuring but the hard fact remains that the words assume importance only when they are followed by sincere and honest actions on the ground. We can hope for the best…..!
Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo