They rule the state. They exercise unbridled and absolute powers. There is no accountability. They are above law. They have converted the State into the “second most corrupt” State in India. They control all the portfolios with political weight and considerable funds. They enjoy representation in the Jammu & Kashmir Legislative Assembly which decides questions of supreme important to the happiness and well-being of the people and in Parliament in excess of their numerical strength and despite the fact that their region constitutes less than 11 per cent of the State’s land area.
They dominate the State Council of Ministers and State Cabinet, which takes policy decisions. They control all institutions – political, economic and social. They control trade, commerce, transport and what not. They occupy almost all the over three lakh positions in the Government and semi-government establishments in the Kashmir Valley. They also have a very significant presence in Government and semi-government establishments in Jammu province and far-off cold-desert Ladakh, which remains cut-off from rest of the world for more than six months in a year.
They dominate and control the recruitment agencies like Public Service Commission. They have a communication network which can be compared with any developed country in the world. They have irrigation facilities which are not available to the agrarian community in any part of India. They lead a highly prosperous and luxurious life. The more privileged among them live as only very few Europeans and Americans can afford to live.
Till date, none has ever heard that any Kashmiri has died of cold and hunger. Till date, none has ever heard that any Kashmiri is without a proper roof. The employment rate in privileged Kashmir is the highest in the country, with India Inc more than willing to accommodate them in establishments outside Kashmir. They rarely contribute to the State exchequer. But more than that, they have rid Kashmir of almost all “Kafirs”.
They never allow any outsider to acquire land in Kashmir or acquire a flat or plot in the Government-developed colonies. They ensure that no “Kafir” settles in Kashmir. In fact, they have meticulously developed a system that ensures the exclusion of “Kafirs”. The fact is that they have converted Kashmir into a one-religion region for all practical purposes with the process of radicalization at its zenith. The Army is there in Kashmir because it has to be. The paramilitary forces are there in Kashmir because they have to be. (However, one cannot say with confidence if those who control New Delhi really want the Army and paramilitary forces to stay put in Kashmir.)
Not only this. They exploit the people of Jammu province to the hilt. They and New Delhi, which pumps into Kashmir billions of rupees every year under various schemes, enrich the Valley at the cost of Jammu and Ladakh. They manage Jammu province’s rich green-gold and all other natural resources, including precious minerals. They have set up colonies in different parts of Jammu province, particularly Jammu district.
Nobody knows how much Forest and State land they have occupied by questionable means. According to one estimate, they have occupied thousands of acres of Forest and State land in Jammu. The process goes on unabated and new colonies are coming up. They and their followers have not only occupied Forest and State land, but they also have acquired plots and flats in the Government-controlled colonies with utmost ease, obviously with overt and covert official and communal support. They have not only a very significant presence in Government and semi-government establishments across Jammu province, they also have a very significance presence in the professional and technical institutions, including medical and engineering colleges and agricultural university, in Jammu province. In fact, they have swamped a number of such institutions with the qualified and meritorious Jammu youth quitting their homes and hearths to acquire education outside the State.
The story of Ladakh is slightly different, as the region has two partially empowered autonomous hill development councils, one each for Leh and Kargil districts. They do try their best to create in the Ladakh region a situation similar to the one they have created in Jammu province, but local factors and the somewhat positive attitude of New Delhi have not allowed them to do what they did in Jammu, sometimes using their extraordinary powers and sometimes using local leaders belonging to almost all political parties. There is hardly any leader in Jammu province with the courage to dare New Delhi and speak the truth. And so it has been going on since October 1947 without any break. The policy of New Delhi has been to ignore Jammu to please Kashmir.
The fact of the matter is that the people of Kashmir, barring “Kafirs” who quit their original Kashmir habitat long ago, are the most prosperous community in the world, barring a few persons here and there. It is political power that matters and Kashmir has it to the extent that no other State in India has. It is money that matters and they have more money than they require. It is patronage that matters and New Delhi is always there at their beck and call. In fact, they have everything in plenty and still they raise the bogey of alienation.
Actually, the Jinnahs in them constantly prick them so that they turn into Afzal Gurus and the result is what we witness in Kashmir. Not only Jinnahs who created Pakistan, even non-Muslim Jinnahs like Dilip Padgaonkar, Prem Shankar Jha, Fali S Nariman, to mention only a few, constantly prick and provoke them to revolt against India so that they could achieve what Guru could not achieve on December 13, 2001, the destruction of Parliament and elimination of the top political leadership.
Just look at what these non-Muslim Jinnahs have said in the aftermath of the lawful hanging of Afzal Guru, convicted in the Parliament terror attack case. Jha said the decision was “wrong”, “The government’s decision has been an utter disaster for it has done immense, possibly irreparable, harm to the country without doing the tiniest smidgen of good”.
Nariman said: “Afzal execution is blot on democracy and justice system…It (is) a case of ‘absolute thoughtlessness, recklessness’. Our worst enemies couldn’t have done it better”.
Padgaonkar said: “I have told the Government of India that till you won’t understand problems of Kashmiris peace won’t return to the Valley. Hanging of Guru has derailed the peace process… It (hanging) has created a wedge between Kashmiris and India. All stakeholders in Delhi and Kashmir should sit and discuss the issue (handing over the dead body of Guru to his family) without any delay”.
What these and other non-Muslim Jinnahs like Mani Shankar Aiyer, Swami Agnivesh, Radha Kumar, Gautam Navlakha, Happymon Jacob, to mention only a few, have said on Guru is nothing but a brazen demonstration of solidarity with the enemies of the nation. You can tackle other Jinnahs but it is difficult to tackle non-Muslim Jinnahs because some of them are very close to the system and well-entrenched. Still, they have to be tackled somehow or the other.
The author is former Chair Professor, Maharaja Gulab Singh Chair, University of Jammu, Jammu, & former member Indian Council of Historical Research