Make amends

The National Conference led coalition government received a severe drubbing during the recently held parliamentary elections both in the Chenab valley as well as in the Pir Panjal region. And with the assembly elections coming closer, the coalition partners are in a dilemma. However, as they say it is never too late to make amends.  The Chief Minister has promised the people in erstwhile Doda district and Poonch-Rajouri districts Hill Councils on the pattern of Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC). The status can be granted or at least a process can be initiated now. There is no harm in it. After LAHDC status for Leh and Kargil districts, the Ladakh has been recently given the status of a division. Previously Ladakh used to be a part of Kashmir division.  Interestingly Ladakh has a population of few lakh people. In fact the population of Batmaloo and Rainawari areas of Srinagar is more than the total population of Ladakh. But they know how to get things done and successive government have gone out of way to keep the Ladakh people in good humour. A similar demand from erstwhile Doda district and Poonch-Rajouri districts has been ignored for obvious reasons. But the incumbent Chief Minister has promised it and now the concerned are looking towards him. Omar can do a favour to himself by fulfilling the promise. The assembly elections are round the corner and he can have something to sell to the people there if he takes measures to start the process.   Some people are under a mistaken notion that the Councils were aimed at changing the demographic complexion of the region. The demand for autonomous councils for the Chenab Valley and the PIR Panchal valley is not communally motivated. If at all, the councils are created, the entire population and not just a particular community shall benefit.  And, it should not be in any case perceived as an attempt to divide Jammu region.  The demand for a hill council should not be resisted because of unfounded apprehensions of some quarters. The demand hits hard at the very concept of Jammu Pradesh. The demand for a separate state for Jammu region is being projected by a `street politician’ and a self-styled columnist from Jammu who at times changes his gender to mislead the gullible people of Jammu. The state has to remain a single unit notwithstanding the machinations of these unscrupulous elements and the demand for hill councils is in no way going to compromise the unity and integrity of the state of Jammu Kashmir. On the contrary, the hill councils shall ensure good governance and equitable development of all the regions.