Governor's administration declaring Ladakh as a separate division has triggered a debate. All the political parties have welcomed the move but have raised the pitch for granting divisional status to Pir Panchal and Chenab Valley.
People of both these regions for the past thirty years have been demanding that these areas should be given divisional status. But till date no one has paid attention towards them.
Everyone is apparently happy for the people of Ladakh as they have been granted their wish. The Jammu and Kashmir government needs to apply the same yardstick for the Chenab Valley and Pir Panchal also. Governor Malik can do it with just one stroke of pen as there is no politics involved at this point of time.
Giving divisional status to Ladakh would prove a point that craving out Ladakh region from Kashmir was not a political decision as Chenab valley and Pir Panchal fall in Jammu division. The Governor's administration can prove the critics wrong by taking a similar decision.
Separating Ladakh from Kashmir has provided political parties with an issue on a platter ahead of elections in the state. If the Governor's administration doesn't pay heed towards the Pir Panchal and Chenab Valley these parties would get a chance to beat the trumpet that Governor Malik is "biased" and he is carrying forward the agenda of a particular political party.
There is no doubt about the fact that Chenab Valley and Pir Panchal have not witnessed much development during the past 70-years and people of these areas have to even struggle for basic amenities. Basic necessities of life, including proper roads, electricity and water are yet to reach both these regions. People of these areas during the past 70-years have voted for different parties with a hope that someone or other would turn out to be a "Messiah" and help them but till date no one has lived up to their expectations.
Today National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party are demanding divisional status for these two regions. Someone needs to remind these parties that when they were in power why they forgot both these regions. Former chief ministers of J&K Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti could have easily provided divisional status to Pir Panchal, Chenab Valley and Ladakh but they just ignored it due to political reasons.
Political parties should stop playing politics over Ladakh being made a separate division instead they need to develop consensus among themselves and approach New Delhi with the legitimate demands of other regions. If Ladakh can be made a separate division why Pir Panchal and Chenab Valley can't be carved out from the Jammu division? They need to ask this question collectively.
Kashmiri politicians should stop selling dreams and slogans and concentrate on the goals which can be achieved. Had they tried to achieve smaller goals by now they could have achieved something big. The problem with the politicians in Kashmir is that after becoming leaders they start talking about the issues which don't fall in their domain. They advise New Delhi to hold talks with Pakistan and grant "Azadi" to Kashmir within constitution. Someone needs to ask them is it possible for New Delhi to give any "Azadi" within the ambit of the constitution? What all New Delhi can give within the constitution has already been granted to Jammu and Kashmir. Ladakh has been given divisional status and has become a division due to the efforts of Ladakhi leaders. They never shifted their focus and strived hard for their rights. Ladakhi leaders have never crossed the line. Since 1947 none of the Ladakhi leaders have said that Ladakh is close to China and India should allow it to merge it with China. They have always maintained that Ladakh is a part of India but Delhi has to fulfill the legitimate demands of the people. Ladakhi leaders have always spoken about development, education and prosperity leaving Centre with no other option other than to fulfill their demands.
Kashmiri politicians, who are aware about the fact that future of Kashmir is with India, need to muster courage and tell the people that they cannot fetch "moons and stars" but they can resolve the issues which touch the skin of a common man. If these leaders don't tell the truth to people of Kashmir after Ladakh there could be more surprises in offing and Valley will be isolated to confine the conflict to a few districts. The state of Jammu and Kashmir which existed from Gilgit Baltistan to Lakhanpur till 1947 would get confined from Uri to Qazigund.
(The writer is member of JK Youth Alliance)