Keep Kashmir; give ‘Azadi’ to Jammu, Ladakh: Interlocutors
Panel’s ‘Disintegration’ Plan For JK Draws Flak
Srinagar, May 25: While disfavoring any change in the state’s present status within Indian union, the ‘contentious’ recommendation of the Interlocutors proposing creation of three separate Regional Councils for Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh with equal constitutional status - legislative, executive and financial powers - is set to revive the touchy ‘trifurcation’ debate in the state.
In the 176-page report, released by Union Home Ministry Friday, the interlocutors have recommended setting up of three separate Regional Councils in the state. Under the new proposition, the central structure of governance would lose its powers in key legislative and financial matters as the same shall be delegated to the regional councils. Not only this, the report proposes that Ladakh would no more be a part of the Valley administratively as it will have a separate provincial status.
Talking to Greater Kashmir, senior National Conference leader Dr Mustafa Kamaal rejected the idea of regional councils, saying such a move will “sow the seeds for disintegration of the state on religious lines.”
“There has been no such demand from the people of state including from Jammu and Ladakh. NC will not allow this to happen at any cost and would try its best to maintain the present administrative and governance structure of the state,” Kamaal told Greater Kashmir.
He minced no words in castigating interlocutors for “overstepping” their mandate.
“The authority for devolution of powers to regions lies with the State Government and there is no need for such contentious suggestion to come from any group or panel,” Kamaal said.
Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), otherwise a strong votary of sub-regional councils for addressing “internal aspirations” within the state, has taken exception to the interlocutor’s suggestion saying “it is not their task”.
“The aspirations of different regions and communities within the state can be addressed within constitution of the state and recommendation from interlocutors’ is not needed on the subject,” PDP chief spokesman Naeem Akthar said.
Akhtar said redressal of regional aspirations within the state can be done through debate and discussions and it doesn’t need any mechanical formulation.
The PDP’s Self-Rule document calls for institution of cross-LoC mechanism of Regional Council of Greater Jammu and Kashmir and creation of sub-regional councils for empowering various sub-regions.
BJP state president Shamsher Singh Manhas said the proposal of giving regional councils legislative powers would mean “disintegration of the state”.
“If regional councils are armed with legislative powers, it means division of the state,” Manhas said, adding BJP is against trifurcation of the State.
He, however, said the party supports the idea of creation of regional councils having financial powers.
State Congress spokesman Ravinder Sharma refused to comment on the matter.
“I am not in a position to comment over it (regional councils) as I am yet to go through the report,” he said.
Peoples Conference chairman Sajjad Gani Lone also ridiculed the idea. “After having gone through the report, the malafide intentions become evident. Three regional councils is an attempt to re-define the people of state in a disruptively fragmented manner and an old trick to divide the state,” Lone told Greater Kashmir.
Lone added that a solution has to be found on the basis of “macro-aspirations and not on “micro-grievances”.
Chairman of Peoples Democratic Front (PDF) Hakeem Muhammad Yasin views on creation of regional councils are no different. “This is an attempt to divide people of JK on communal lines but we will oppose any such move tooth and nail,” he added.
Political analysts, however, opine that there is a problem in identification of regional and sub-regional councils due to divergent take of political parties on it.
“The issue of regions and sub-regions has been problematized due to divergent views of political parties over it. In 1997-98, National Conference identified eight regions and sub-regions of the state in its Regional Autonomy report while other political parties from Jammu view it quite differently. The problem is in Jammu as Pir Panchal and Chenab areas are seen as separate regions and three districts of Jammu, Udhampur and Kathua are taken as other unit by some people. Similarly in Ladakh, Buddhists of Ladakh and Muslims of Kargil are seen as two different entities,” prominent political analyst of Valley, Gul Muhammad Wani says.
Wani added that people of regions and sub-regions have themselves to decide upon the creation of regional councils or some better formula.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 25 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 25 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 26 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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