The Kashmir Conundrum is like Abhimanyu's Chakravyuh

Lopsided  development of Jammu and Ladakh

This  feeling of being discriminated against exists since 1951 when the  number of legislators was first decided in favor of Kashmir. There  are other reasons as well.

According  to Prof Hari Om of Jammu University, ‘Per information  tabled on the floor of the Assembly in 2007 unemployment rate in  Kashmir was less than 30% vs 69.75% in Jammu. The report also  indicates that employees from Kashmir dominate in the 1,715 employees  of civil secretariat which includes  gazetted, non- gazetted and fourth class employees. There  were 199 gazetted officers, share of Jammu 41%. Non-gazetted officers  1041, share of Jammu 26%. Fourth class employees 363, share of Jammu  29%.

Roads  are the lifeline of any region or state. The figures as contained in  the Report  of the Task Force on development of Jammu and Kashmir (constituted  by PM in 2006) show  the extent to which the State Government has focused on the Valley.  See table 5.

Data  gathered by Task Force on Roads in Jammu District* (Table  5)

District Land Area sq kms Road Length kms
A.Jammu (total 1 to 6) 26,293 4,571
1. Erstwhile Doda 11,691 613
2. Poonch 1,674 217
3. Udhampur 4,550 719
4. Rajouri 2,630 511
5. Kathua 2,651 782
6. Jammu 3,097 1,729
B.Ladakh (total 7 to 8) 59,146 1,840
7. Leh 45,110 1,164
8. Kargil 14,036 676
C.Kashmir (total 9to14) 15,948 7,129
9. Erstwhile Anantnag 3,984 1,328
10. Erstwhile Pulwama 1,398 878
11. Srinagar 2,228 1,425
12. Budgam 1,371 1,122
13. Baramullah 4,588 1,553
14. Kupwara 2,379 823
Total A+B+C 1,01,387 13,540

*(Development  of Jammu and Kashmir Growth Generating Initiatives,  Government of India, New Delhi, November 2006, p. 14).

The  numbers speak for themselves. Kashmir has 15.7% of the State’s land  area and 52.7% of the roads. Ladakh has only 1,840 kms – the  sensitive border area needs urgent attention.

Coming  to revenues, Jammu region contributes substantially to treasury.  Sales tax realized in J&K from 1975-2007 was Rs 3,550 crs of  which Jammu contributed 70%. (J&K Planning Department papers).

People  in Jammu believe a larger % of Government expenditure is in Kashmir.  For e.g. everyone from Jammu working with the Public Health  Engineering (PHE) Department under the Community Participation Scheme  (CPS) got a monthly wage of Rs.500. Corresponding figure for Kashmiri  was Rs 2,100.

Next  is share in the state’s professional colleges, including medical  and dental colleges. A scrutiny of the MBBS/BDS selection lists of  the last 27 years reveals that the Jammu’s share in the state’s  medical colleges dwindled from 60% in 1990, 52% in 1991 and 17% in  1998. In 1995, the share was 41 per cent (Report  of the Committee set up by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir,  January 13, 1999, pg 4). Between 1998 and 2008, the share of Jammu in  these colleges remained almost the same, and sometimes even less.  There is thus, an urgent need to revise the existing admission  policy’.

Treatment  of the people of Jammu and Ladakh violates the Preamble of the  Constitution of J&K which  seeks to secure for its citizens ‘Equality of status and  opportunity, and to promote among us all’.

ST’s  too are unhappy. Choudhary Anwar Hussain, advocate and leader, Gujjar United Front  said, (The  Tribune 3/12/2013)  “Abrogation of Article 370 will help the STs to get direct benefits  of various schemes meant for them.” To read similar views

Ladakis are unhappy too! Below are excerpts  from interview given by Thupstan Chhewang, Chairman, Ladakh Hill  Development Council in 2002 ( ‘Ladakh was an  independent kingdom till 1836, when it was invaded and annexed to the  Dogra state of Jammu. In 1947, when India was granted independence,  we were part of the principality of J&K. It is how we became part  of the Jammu and Kashmir state. At the time of partition, the people  of Ladakh approached the Maharaja and later (in 1949), they  approached the Indian Prime Minister with the same demand: we do not  want to be part of J&Kashmir state. We wanted Ladakh to be  directly administered by Delhi. We already had an apprehension that  Ladakh would be discriminated against by the Kashmiris and it has  happened now for the past 40 years. At that time already, our leaders  had asked that Ladakh should be considered as a separate unit, but  once the Kashmir issue became an international issue, we have been  used as scapegoats. To read full interview

If  the J&K State Government believes it is being maligned, they  should publish a white paper which gives revenue and expenditure,  separately for Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh regions, for the past twenty  years?

Q.  Why are some separatist leaders against return of Pandits to the  Valley?

A.  By virtue of the Valley being nearly 100% Muslim votes go to either  the National Conference or PDP so domination of Valley Muslims  (Sunni) continues. Gujjars,  Paharis, OBCs and Pandits are likely to vote for neither and may vote  BJP (emerged as largest party in State during last Lok Sabha  elections) along with Shias.  If  BJP wins a couple of seats plus larger number in Ladakh and Jammu,  where people resent domination by the Valley, it could break their  domination enjoyed since 1951.

Q.  Why are Kashmiri Pandits reluctant to return to the Valley?

A.  Before asking Pandits to return we have to address the reasons why  they are expelled from the Valley.  Pandits will feel secure when those responsible for killings and  rapes of 1990 are convicted.

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