Paradox of J&K anti-corruption drive !

A strange paradox indeed ! During the preceding week when State Government was busy organising a series of official functions to mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, the apostle of self-effacement and that of Lal Bahadur Shastri, the epitome of accountability in public life, a report in a section of press disclosed that more than 300 cases of corruption and misappropriation of state funds involving J&K coalition government ministers and senior officers were pending before the State Accountability Commission (SAC) which had failed to dispose these off for a variety of reasons including a sequential chain of identical stay orders obtained by the accused from the High Court.
Another paradox ! Instead of being prosecuted or questioned, many of the “biggies” alleged to be involved in these cases have not only gone scot-free but have risen higher to occupy “bigger” positions in hierarchy. Oscar Wilde once quipped that the cazier rise higher and the craziest rises to become the Admiral. In the realms of corruption in the officially declared corruption-free State of Jammu & Kashmir, while the State’s “young” “dynamic” leadership pledges to come down heavily on corruption, the corrupt emerge as heavy-weight favourites of those at the helm.
In other words, while the cynic data-compilers continue to rate J&K as a State ranking high in corruption, this can hardly deter the State’s anti-corruption drive from dumping all the corrupt “Patwaris” and “store-keepers” in the nearest river depending on whether it is river Jhelum or river Tawi.
The most hilarious aspect of this whole issue is that each time a new government takes over in Jammu and Kashmir, it launches a renewed anti-corruption drive and vows to eradicate corruption but before the end of its term, it invariably ends up adding further to corruption thus raising the State’s rating further up in the corruption graph. Looking back at the record of past 30 years, just recall the sequence. Sheikh Abdullah took over in 1975 and gave the call for what he described as “Yaum-e-Hisaab” . Farooq Abdullah took over in 1983 and threatend to prepare a list of officers to be prematurely retired because of their corrupt record. Ghulam Naib Azad took over in 2005 and coined the phrase “dead wood” for officials to be sent packing. Omar Abdullah took over in 2009 and his cronies promised a regime as clean and as fresh as the new young chief minister. However what followed in each of these cases hardly requires a recall.
And what happened to those fancifully named schemes and proposals… Sher-e-Kashmir employment plan, cashless transfer policy, stipend for unemployed youth, etc.? Did these all too meet their end at the altar of invincible angels of corruption ?
Be that as it is, any cleansing operation has to start from top, not from bottom— in other words, from the ministers and bureaucrats, not from the Patwari. For, as long as the big fish is conveniently allowed to go scotfree and small fish is put behind bars as a mere show-piece of anti -corruption drive, the fountain-head of corruption would remain unchecked at the cost of hapless common man and Umapathy will continue to lament his ruin in the hands of his socalled saviours ‘‘….Mere Sogvaaron Mein Aaj Mera Qatil Hai !’’

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