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When Netas and Babus are imposed from above

The current political- administrative setup in J&K is seen wanting in every single respect in delivering and ensuring good governance in Kashmir

On the one hand, schools have been closed by the J&K administration while letting the tourist flow continue unhindered and unregulated into the valley without even subjecting those travelling by road to Kashmir to mandatory Covid tests at the points of entry into the valley. Out of 146 who had tested positive in Kashmir some days ago, almost half of them were tourists including two of them who have died today. Surprisingly, they had tested negative upon their arrival at the Srinagar airport including the deceased tourists. And in the midst of it all, the Amarnath yatra is scheduled to go ahead as planned. What a sordid spectacle of misplaced priorities!

And see how in a stroke of genius, they have hit upon this novel way of imposing night curfew restrictions in J&K with a view to restrict the spread of the Covid pandemic in the J&K? And this despite the fact that since the early 90’s, night life has ceased to exist in this part of the world in the midst of such a daunting and intimidating presence of the army in every nook and cranny of Kashmir when venturing out of home during nights is seen as a hugely risky affair. A far more effective way to curb the menace would have been to do the more obvious and simple thing by restricting/regulating or outrightly banning the inflow of tourists in Kashmir, avoiding congregational prayers and, most importantly, cancelling the Amarnath yatra which would be the single-most factor to let the pandemic spin completely out of control. Why can’t those who are in charge of the administration in J&K use their commonsense to take a call on this important issue? Else commonsense would come across as uncommon to them as it possibly can get.

But the reasons for this long regime of misplaced priorities are not far to seek. It’s common knowledge in Kashmir that the parties and their leaders who have ruled Kashmir since 1947, whether ‘elected’ or imposed from above, have represented New Delhi in Srinagar rather than the other way round. Come to think of it, the extent of their pro-people policies or agenda has been seen to be inversely proportional to their distance from the Centre.

Which is why the current political- administrative setup in J&K is seen wanting in every single respect in delivering and ensuring good governance in Kashmir: whether you talk of how it is seen to handle price control of commodities like construction material or of consumer goods like mutton, vegetables etc., or of the condition of roads and other public amenities- aka, bijli, sadak, pani – or this latest joke regarding their abysmally poor sense of how to handle this fresh wave in the Covid- pandemic in Kashmir, there is no reason to rejoice over their performance which is pathetic at best. Isn’t that an eloquent testimony to their proximity to those who have imposed them from above – and by implication to the light years of distance that separates them from the people of Kashmir?


The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM.
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Written by M A Sofi


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