The crusade against the corruption in Jammu and Kashmir seems to have intensified since the day Bharatiya Janata Party led NDA 2.0 has returned to power with a thumping majority in the Centre.
During the past one and a half month anti-graft agencies have become active in different states and Jammu and Kashmir has been a no exception. Recently, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik took pot shots at the people who were in charges of the Forest department in Jammu and Kashmir. The Governor Malik claimed that they made “millions” and own big bungalows in posh colonies across New Delhi. He made it clear that the anti-graft agencies in J&K have been given all the powers and no one, including the “big fishes” will be spared.
“There is no vendetta (against anyone). In its natural course, the way Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) is working now, we won’t let go big fishes. No one will be spared – whether he belongs to any party or however big he is. No one is big before the law. I am here. I am not going anywhere,” Malik told reporters in Srinagar. (Greater Kashmir..July 9, 2019).
The Governor Malik talking tough and straight is a clear warning to the corrupt elements that their days are numbered and anti-graft agencies would come hard on them.
Many people believe that corruption being rampant in Jammu and Kashmir is one of the major reasons about youth being disenchanted with the system. It looks like that the people at the helm have decided to root out the corruption from the system so that the deserving get their share and they are not left out.
Maximum people in Kashmir are happy about the “tough stand” taken by the Governor’s administration against the corrupt elements. They know it very well that political dispensations in the past just made tall promisesabout wiping out corruption from the system but these promises just remained confined to papers only. But in Governor’s rule things have changed and the anti-graft agencies which were called as “toothless tigers” have been provided enough teeth to deal with the corrupt elements.
New Delhi’s new Kashmir policy seems clear. There seems to be no place for the people who used to thrive on slogans and rhetoric. During the past one year even the leaders of the mainstream parties in Kashmir have been sidelined and people sitting in New Delhi seem to be in a no mood to listen to them. On the other hand the “big people” who used to enjoy the political patronage are looking for spaces to hide themselves.
The Centre’s new approach with a new Union Home Minister, Amit Shah, in chair has driven home a point that no “nonsense will be tolerated” and New Delhi means business. Media reports suggest that major crackdown against the big fishes, including the political leaders is in offing, and it would prove to be a game changer in the Valley. It looks like that New Delhi has expanded the ambit of its crackdown and the people who enjoyed all the privileges for being a part of the mainstream politics in the Valley are also feeling the heat.
It’s for the first time in the past thirty years that New Delhi has reversed its Kashmir policy. New Delhi seems least interested in holding talks with the separatists, nor it wants to get involved with the mainstream leaders in the Valley as many people in the national capital believe that they have been “over pampered” during all these years. The discourse and narrative seem to have changed completely. It looks like that people at the helm want to back only those leaders in Kashmir who toe a nationalist line and don’t believe in double speak. The new crop of the leaders is emerging on the political arena of Kashmir and it looks like that they could pose a serious threat to the traditional parties in the Valley.
Things in Kashmir are changing fast and it appears that in the next few months we may find Kashmir an entirely changed place. Former Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, few months ago had stated that the Government of India (GoI) has fixed 2024 as the deadline to end all the problems in Kashmir and it looks like that the GoI this time around is serious about clearing the entire mess in the Valley.
(The writer is a Former Journalist member of JK Youth Alliance)