JAMMU: Governor NN Vohra said on Monday that “all of us”—parents, protesters, politicians and law enforcers—were to blame for the summer uprising in which as many as 100 protesters were killed, hundreds blinded and thousands injured by the government forces.
“The irreparable pain of losing someone we love is not unknown to us. While the political rhetoric may result in keeping us at odds, our grief brings us together – whether of a mother who has lost her young soldier son on duty at the line of control or of a mother whose child has been killed by a tear gas shell or blinded by pellets,” Vohra said in a statement.
“We must introspect seriously and identify what we should or could have done better or differently, even though this will not give life to those we have lost,” the statement reads.
The governor, whose address was disrupted by Opposition, said, “We must admit our shortcomings and lift ourselves out from the unfortunate syndrome that has involved us in a cycle of violence which has affected almost every arena of activity.”
“I share the grief of all the families who have lost their loved ones and pray for the early recovery of all those who were injured. I also sympathize with the very large number of families who have had to leave their hearth and homes in the aftermath of the increased incidents of cease-fire violations”.
The governor said that the events of the last six months in Kashmir have particularly affected the educational sector and caused irreparable damage to the academic careers of lakhs of young men and women.
“Damaging and torching of scores of school buildings has marked the nadir. This is most shockingly shameful. We have now got to attacking the future of our children,” he said adding that with the firm resolve and tireless efforts of the police and security forces, the law and order situation is gradually getting back to normalcy in Kashmir. “For safeguarding life and public property, while maintaining public order, the police and security forces have been exercising extreme restraint, despite grave provocations,” he said.
The governor said it is to be recognized that the development process received a major setback and governance has been impaired during the past months of unrest in Kashmir.
Calling for a collective and concerted effort to address the socio-economic concerns of the State’s youth and contain the increasing alienation, Vohra said the legislature shall have to take a lead to jointly find ways in which the new generation will be the vanguard for reducing the political, ethnic, regional, and ideological differences which have adversely affected the substance and nature of the political discourse in the state.
He maintained that Jammu & Kashmir has a very high potential for being developed to be among the leading States in the country. To achieve our goals we need to resolve all our disagreements, such as they may be, work collectively and strive very hard to put our State on the path of rapid development on all fronts.
“I call upon this august House to play a leading role to establish it as a very strong institution of functioning democracy in the State. The disturbances and violent conflicts which we have gone through have engendered a worrisome decline in our social norms, relations and hierarchies and standards of political discourse. These regressive changes need to be addressed and reversed and the political agenda, the economic roadmap and the social framework must all emanate from here,” the Governor said in his address to the joint sitting of the State Legislature here today at the beginning of the Budget Session 2017-18.
The governor said that it is in the larger interest of the State and its people to urgently embark on the mission of protecting the psyche of the future generation from being fractured by the unprecedented civil strife, political disruption and chaos, while enormous progress is taking place in other parts of our country.
“No responsible society can afford to stand by and see the alienation of its youth. Let us not forget that our young people, aged from 15 to 30 years, account for around 40 per cent of our total population,” he said and added that the Government particularly needs to address the matters which concern the youth and, in this direction, it must not forget that the new generation is faced with fears and challenges of economic insecurity and uncertainty which lead them to turn inwards and pursue negative approaches.
“A worrying concern is that the younger generation, especially in the Valley, is less engaged civically, exhibits less social trust and confidence and, consequently, have a weaker commitment to the inherited value systems,” Vohra said adding that addressing this serious issue has to receive very high priority and we need to urgently go forward to engage the youth.
He said to begin with, youth need to get involved in societal and civil issues and problems. “Also, to enable the political executive to effectively address varied serious challenges the new generation must start actively participating in the socio-economic developmental programmes and processes, as this will, hopefully, lead to the evolution of fresh ideologies and political participation,” he said and added that it is imperative that we work towards the resolution of conflicts, first within our civil society and then in the polity. “While it is important that the Info-Pak dialogue gets resumed early, it is equally important that conversations happen within families, across villages, in towns and cities to build a social and moral consensus so that a congenial atmosphere is created for the government to take the required initiatives for securing peace and development,” he said.
“Our greatest intellectual challenge is to find a new ideological consensus based on our past history and heritage. This is important for enabling meaningful contributions by the mainstream polity and for the protection and survival of our social moorings. What has been happening on the streets in the past months in Kashmir is a manifestation of our political problems which have affected our socio-moral moorings and the societal order,” he said and added that the new political discourse has to move away from being exclusivist to be effectively inclusive. Such an agenda will help reduce and eradicate apathy and cynicism towards the resolution of the varied conflicts which affect us. “Unless we act with determination senseless violence may become a way of life and ruin our future,” the governor cautioned.
On SARFAESI Act
Vohra said that some concerns have been expressed about the recent Supreme Court Judgment on the applicability of SARFEASI. To put all speculative and ill intended interpretations to rest, the true position is that even if Banks sell immovable mortgaged assets, they can do so only to state subjects. To facilitate the creation of a market for distressed assets of state subjects, the Government has already put into motion the formation of an Asset Reconstruction Company in partnership with the J&K Bank.
Vohra said yet another issue that is being played up is the issue of West Pakistan Refugees. As a part of the Agenda of Alliance, it was decided to sympathetically deal with this humanitarian issue. The state government has facilitated their identification to enable them to get work in the paramilitary forces and other central government establishments. This identification does not change the status of the West Pakistan Refugees; they continue to be non-state subjects.
On Kashmiri migrants
With the Government’s commitment towards facilitating the return and dignified rehabilitation of Kashmiri Migrants additional transit accommodation, on the lines of Vesu in Anantnag and Sheikhpora in Budgam, is being planned in the Kashmir Valley. They will be provided the required facilities till the situation normalises for them to go back to their homes.