Thursday, November 26, 2020
 News Details
Alliance For Gupkar Declaration

B L Saraf

One may or may not like it but it can’t be ignored . We have The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration ( PAGD ) in mind . Some call it an assemblage of group of disgruntled and discarded politicians who are in search of business . Others see a ray of hope in the conglomerate . While as former argument has a ring of predictability in it as this is said of every new political formation which threatens to dislodge an established one , latter has an undertone of optimism – may be an exaggerated one .
The PAGD has been formed , reportedly , with the purpose to safeguard Constitutional and democratic rights of the people in erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir . The Alliance comprises NC , PDP , PC , CPI (M ) , CPI and other splinter political groups in Kashmir . First Gupkar Declaration ( GD ) was made on 4rth August 2019 which called for safeguarding the special status of J &K .The second meeting of the group was held on 22 August 2020 . Mehboob Mufti Could not attend it as she was in detention . The participants came out with a statement “ We all reiterate our commitment to the collective fight to restore special status for J &K as granted under Constitution and commitments made from time to time . The division of the state is unacceptable to us .” We are given to understand that GD 11 is a first step to bring together forces committed to defend special status , statehood and rights of the people .
Mehbooba Mufti joined the group soon after her release from the detention and other meeting of the group was held on 15th Oct, where formation of PAGD was announced . The Alliance , as promised , opens up the window for asking questions to the ruling political and administrative establishment . For years people in UT seemed to have forgotten or were frightened to ask questions to the government . Questions have to be raised . The society which gives up its right to question state actions is a dead society .
It is worth taking note of that the PAGD has reiterated its allegiance to the Constitution of India and committed itself to the national integrity . The participants say that their fight is against BJP’s policies adopted towards J & K . Well , BJP should take no offence to such a statement , except use their political right to fight the Alliance on political merits and not deride it as anti-national . BJP is not and can’t be the nation . Who other than the founding fathers of this party know it better that “ Indira is not India nor India is Indira. ” Because they had to bear the maxim brunt of Indira Gandhi’s onslaught on the nation’s constitutional democracy , in 1975 .Similarly , “ BJP can’t be India nor India the BJP.” NDA partners, then in the Avatar of Janta Party , vociferously denounced late Dev Kant Barua – the author of infamous quote for ushering in a culture of sycophancy , to the detriment of national interest .
Kashmir is gasping for fresh political breath . People in Jammu region are not happy with the promulgation of latest Land laws which make it easy for outsiders to acquire land in the UT . Much promised Domicile law has been turned on its head .They have other grievances, also .
Residents in Ladakh too don’t feel happy about the prevailing state of affairs . While as they are happy over UT status but feel hurt that regions’ geo-political importance has not been duly recognized by the Central government .Their grouse is that after being designated as a UT the region is treated as a municipality town governed by bureaucrats alone . The ladhakis demand of inclusion in 6th Schedule of the Union Constitution has not been met . Some keen observers of region’s strategic position want more than inclusion in this Schedule . They want proper political empowerment and seek a “higher political status commensurate with Ladakh’s historical profile .” Kashmiri Pandits feel let down . Leave alone the major ones, their basic demands have not been met . Employment component of the PM’s package , announced in 2009 , has not been satisfied , fully , till now . And those given the employment suffer for want of proper living place in Kashmir .Temples and shrines in the Valley lay vandalized and abandoned for want of a statutory cover . The Community’s demand for a law to protect these places gathers dust .
Therefore , if not for anything else at least for providing us with an out let to come out of the stale and suffocating political atmosphere the conglomerate needs to be thanked . It is , however , up to them to do a fair business and not indulge in provocative and rabble raising rhetoric . That will carry them nowhere . On the contrary , they will be overwhelmed by the so called nationalist with the anti national accusations which will distract them from the real job .
The task lying ahead is , undoubtedly , a tough one for the Alliance . It is up against a political adversary whose political and administrative capabilities, as of today , are unmatched . Before raising other issues , it must focus on restoration of full democratic politics in the erstwhile state . Indifferent and negative attitude may not help it . The leaders will have to take the call as and when it comes from quarters concerned . The first and foremost need for the Alliance is to dispel the impression that it is only Valley specific . It must carry all sections of J &K along with .
LG Manoj Sinha , who with his public outreach seems to have struck a right cord with people in the UT , should rise above political considerations of his parent political party and ensure a level playing field for the PAGD , to play a fair game . In this regard his latest statement that he is ready to talk to all stakeholders to normalize J &K is a welcome development . L G may advise GOI accordingly . After all BJP has , in the recent past and in beginning of the Century , done business with major partners of the Alliance like PDP , PC and NC – either in J &K or in New Delhi . Sooner than later , GOI will have to engage with these parties if a sustainable peace has to return to J &K .

(The author is a Former Principal District & Sessions Judge. Feedback- [email protected] )

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