The GST controversy hovering over the political and social landscape of Kashmir has left us divided with many unanswered questions and thoughts about the remnants of our Special Status. Before we take the bull by its horns with our legitimate concerns and emotions for safeguarding the Special Status of Jammu and Kashmir vis a vis implementation of GST, there is a question staring in our face. Question about those 46 amendments that were brought to Jammu and Kashmir, systematically and arbitrarily. By virtue of implementation of GST many issues have come to the fore. In retrospect, going to the roots and cause of extension of Presidential orders to J&K which have gradually eroded the Special Constitutional position, won't be incorrect.
Today when we struggle to fight for safeguarding our special status, even without caring for the financial implications of not integrating with a central taxation scheme, how can we let go of what was done to us in the past. Who is to be held accountable for that? A common Kashmiri who reposes faith in regional political parties to protect its interest feels deeply alienated and a sense of deceit, mistrust prevails when one learns that past has been much more cruel to us than what the future holds. Already facing the side effects of frictions of an experimental alliance and repercussions of a fractured mandate, this oscillation of thoughts between what is lost and what is there to lose has robbed us of pride of being distinct. Our special status is a mere nomenclature and nothing else.
All those 46 amendments through Presidential Orders are against the very spirit of our special status and contrary to the contents of Instrument of Accession. If the law was to be used or imposed on us in such a way, then the contents of the Instrument of Accession should not have been so promising. It has been reduced to a mere piece of paper without any significance as its essence has become the genesis of conflict of thought. It is astounding that one of the pioneers of Indian politics, the youngest speaker of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly thus far and former finance minister of the State, a tall leader of Kashmir could not speak up for us then while heading an empowered committee on GST. The art of budgeting and his fine sense of articulation finds us dumbfound that our State was left in an economic morass of Rs 9000 crore liability. Sadly, politics has always preponderated upon our aspirations and today also we fear that same mistake would be repeated in a different way.
There are many countries in the world to have a federal structure like ours do but every time the states don't have to prove their allegiance to the broader nation hood by forcefully adopting changes to their laws. Those 46 amendments were made without our knowledge in a systematic abuse of the Article 370. Practically there is no way of reversal but it is also not something to forget. The government has a chance to strike a perfect balance between protecting the special status and also achieving taxation reforms. The assembly is in session and it is their oath to safeguard our interests.GST howsoever necessary or beneficial, cannot become a forced law without consensus.
GST is a matter of debate and the ball is in government's court whether to win hearts or to let us down. The state government notwithstanding the political combination, has an opportunity to safeguard our aspirations, expectations and interests. The sense and prudence does not allow us to forgive those who treaded path of doublespeak. Issue is not of GST alone but hypocrisy. There has to be sincerity in intent, thoughts and what we stand for. It goes for all political parties and us citizens too.
Mehroom e Haqeeqat hain Sahil ke Tamashai
Ham Doob ke Samjhe hain Dariyaon ki gahrai