Regional trust deficit

By K.N.Pandita

Some senior legislators have articulated vigorously in the assembly in the course of discussion on demand of grants for departments under the charge of the chief minister. Baig of PDP and Tarigami of CPI (M) were prominent speakers. Notwithstanding their customary anti-India punch that helps them socialize with the separatists, there is a marked note of change in thinking. The perceptible change is realization of the obvious implications of centre-state relationship in a spectrum of trilateral interlocution now underway. While the Left leader has thrown a hint about his party likely to get reconciled to state’s accession within the parameters of the Instrument of Accession signed by the last Maharaja of J&K, PDP leader has focused on the theme of “trust deficit” among the three regions and also between the state and the union.

Although he has not elaborated his “trust deficit” theory, yet in all probability he feels that in what might be the future shape of the state, Jammu and Ladakh regions are likely to bid good bye to long era of domination by the valley that had led to discrimination. Talking of trust deficit that Jammu has about Kashmir, Baig is aware that there are fundamental views stimulating the trust deficit. Let us make no bones of ground situation if we mean to be in search of redeeming mutual trust. First, Jammu and Ladakh regions do not accept that J&K is a political issue. To them accession to the Indian Union is final and irrevocable. Therefore to them, what is happening is a question of bad governance bedeviling the state. But on the other hand, accession to Indian Union is challenged in Kashmir overtly as well as covertly for no other reason but that it is a Muslim dominated region.

Secondly, Jammu and Ladakh regions want closest ties with the Indian Union in order to derive maximum benefits from its secular democratic dispensation and be active partners in country’s all round development. But Kashmir region, with Kashmir-based leadership in the forefront of the government, stubbornly calls Kashmir a political issue, and refuses the national party in opposition in the parliament to hoist Indian flag in Lal Chowk. If Kashmir leadership has any misunderstanding or complaints with the managers of Indian State, they should not have nursed animus against the tricolour, which is a symbol of Indian nation, and Jammu is part and parcel of that nation. The Kashmir dominated government should have been alive to the sentiments of the people in Jammu region in the case of Amarnath shrine land row or flag hoisting issue but owing to valley obsession it was not. This is a symptom of trust deficit.

Kashmir considered hoisting of flag as an act of inciting public sentiment and attempt at disrupting peace. But the State government did not think CPM (I) leader Brinda Karat’s inciting of communal tension in the course of her address in women’s seminar in Srinagar as threat to communal harmony of the state. That is where Jammu’s trust deficit in Kashmir finds roots. Thirdly, while Jammu and Ladakh regions strongly support State’s pragmatic and progressive relationship with the Indian Union, which means keeping pace with the march of political, economic, social and constitutional development of the country, Kashmir region launched a regressive movement under the rubric of “freedom movement” for “ azaadi, back to pre-1947, pre-1952, greater autonomy, self rule” & etc. Jammu and Ladakh regions consider all these demands retrograde, secession-oriented and totally unacceptable. Therein we find the roots of trust deficit. When plan allocations to Jammu region are lesser in ratio than its revenue proceeds, it leads to trust deficit.

In his speech PDP leader castigated Sheikh Abdullah’s merger mantra of Persian verse “man tu shudam ….” It is good he has spoken out what lies deep in his mind and the mind of the people he represents. Why then the hypocrisy of removing trust deficit among the regions? Because the plebiscite front was launched hence the trust deficit. Why should not his party leadership have the courage to tell the Kashmiris frankly that they denounce accession as such instead of adopting the ambivalence in “self-rule” formula? Sheikh Abdullah abandoned the nomenclature because he believed in steps forward; PDP leader repudiates it because he believes in steps backward.

No political organization or ideology in Kashmir can force Jammu and Ladakh regions to submit to their regressive outlook in state’s relationship with the Indian Union. Baig is too generous to Kashmir leadership by saying they made some mistakes. The fact is that they made no mistake in misleading the Kashmiri youth unless he means to say that their mistake was of accepting the accession. The fact of the matter is that instead of raking the issue of Jammu’s trust deficit in Kashmir, the speaker should have actually discussed the trust deficit of Kashmir leadership within its fold. But that being a harsh and bitter reality, the PDP leader chose to divert it to regional trust deficit. It is not fair to say that the Indian government did not implement the recommendations of the Working Groups on Kashmir. The constituting of team interlocutors and investing it with an upgraded mandate is a sequel to the basic work done by the working groups. Why does not PDP castigate the separatist organizations for putting a hurdle in finding a solution to Kashmir issue by refusing to talk to the interlocutors? By adopting non-committal attitude in this matter, the party is helping increase regional trust deficit.

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