Restoration of Statehood, changes in Domicile Law, improvement in governance and total end to internet disruption were the main points several journalists put across the envoys delegation during an interactive session Wednesday evening.
The interaction was moderated by Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, J P Singh. The delegation includes envoys from Chile, Brazil, Cuba, Bolivia, Estonia, Finland, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Portugal, EU, Belgium, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Bangladesh, Malawi, Eritrea, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Senegal, Malaysia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan.
The scribes put forth the point of restoration of statehood that was scrapped on 5 August 2019. “The people are suffering as they have no representatives,” one of the journalists said during the interaction. “Good governance is more possible only once the people have their own representatives.”
The journalist who was seconded by all other fraternity members said having elected representatives in the form of legislators would mean a lot when it comes to governing a state and not UT which was proved during recent snowfall.
“In September the government said that they are ready to tackle any woe during winter. But the snow was not cleared from city roads for three days,” he said. “Officials said that they are not having snow clearing machines and we are still unable to understand why in September the administration issued this statement?”
Another journalist said that still there are darker days because of no electricity. “Still we have power cuts and it was a difficult winter for people of Kashmir.”
He said that District Development Council elections were held peacefully and a lot of people exercised their franchise. “Taking a cue from DCC elections, now statehood should be restored and assembly polls should be held in a free and fair manner,” he said. “Statehood has been promised to us.”
Article 370, he said, was benefiting only ruling families here. “People are not now concerned about Article 370,” he said. “But certain related changes should be brought like that of Art 35 (A) so that land of people in Kashmir is secure.”
Another senior journalist said that normalcy has almost returned to Kashmir. “Now there are no civilian killings, no stone pelting at encounter sites and people do their normal chorus,” he said. “As far as peace is concerned, security forces have done a commendable job and rest militancy is being dealt sternly.”
“Now there are no hartal calls. Scrapping of Art 370 has jolted those forces who used to mow down the economy with hartal calls,” he said.
The scribes also put forth demand of certain changes in domicile law for the benefit of the general public. “The period should be above 30 years and law should be brought to secure jobs in J&K,” the journalists told delegates. “Present law seems vogue.”
About development and investment, the scribes said that developmental things got held up because of pandemic. “Tourism has started booming and there is no space available in Gulmarg,” they told the delegation. “We are hopeful that in coming time it will further boom.”
On the aspect of investment, the media delegation told the delegates that people from other parts of the country should come and invest first in Kashmir. They said that investment by locals will give a sense of security to foreigners. “Once they invest, foreigners will then invest,” they said.
The scribes also recalled the tough times they faced during lockdown and after 5 August 2019. “Now 4G internet has been restored and we want complete end to internet restrictions,” they said.