The Gupkar Alliance, an alliance of five regional parties in Jammu and Kashmir, on Friday described a report by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on the region as being concocted, according to The Hindu. It said the report contained “fabricated stories”.
Gupkar Alliance spokesperson MY Tarigami said that the government’s report, titled The Dream of One Nation, One Law, One Symbol Fulfilled, was far from the reality. “The reality is that there is a systematic disempowerment of the people of J&K, which is continuing to happen through bureaucratic rule,” Tarigami said at an event in Srinagar.
The report, which was released on September 20, claimed that by abrogating Article 370 – which granted special status to Kashmir – on August 5, 2019, the Bharatiya Janata Party “erased the pain of people”.
The home ministry report further stated that the government created new industries, boosted employment opportunities, reduced terror incidents, removed corruption and brought new Central laws for the “betterment of people”.
The Gupkar Alliance said that the projects mentioned in the home ministry report were approved before 2019 but were shown as “an outcome of abrogation of Article 370”.
“The reality is that Nashri Tunnel, Zojila Tunnel, establishment of 50 degree colleges and various medical colleges are projects approved much before the abrogation of Article 370,” Tarigami added.
Further, the Gupkar Alliance said that the Rs 80,000-crore development package, which was announced by the BJP-Peoples Democratic Party coalition government in 2015, was portrayed as an outcome of abrogation of Article 370.
“How is that possible?” Tarigami asked.
The government’s claims regarding introducing effective land reforms, enabling people from outside to buy land and successful implementation of the Right to Information Act were “blatant lies”, Tarigami said.
“The state of Jammu and Kashmir was a pioneer in implementing the revolutionary land reforms laws, which no other state has done except Kerala to some extent,” he said. “Similarly, the erstwhile state’s own RTI Act was stronger than the Union law.”
Tarigami said that the Kashmir Valley was opened up for corporates for the purpose of land acquisition for real estate development or for sheer speculation on land price.
“Such real estate development adds little to the level of employment; but it subtracts employment if the land was being used for some productive activities before,” he said.
However, the government report claimed to have found employment for approximately 45 lakh people in Jammu and Kashmir. Further, Rs 28,400 crore will be spent till 2037 on industrial development with special focus on employment.
Tarigami pointed out that despite these promises, unemployment in India was at a 45-year high, with Jammu and Kashmir being severely hit.
The Gupkar Alliance spokesperson also said that the BJP tried to claim a “high moral ground” while talking about the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Scheme and the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna in Jammu and Kashmir. Tarigami said that the Union Territory “got the same benefit [from the schemes] as the other states”.
According to the home ministry, Jammu and Kashmir is at the “forefront in availing benefits under the PM Kisan Scheme in terms of beneficiary percentage as a ratio of total population”. It claimed to have benefitted 12.03 lakh beneficiaries in the Union Territory.
Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna, the government claimed to have built two lakh houses in Jammu and Kashmir. The report has testimonials thanking “Modi Sahab” for homes.
However, the situation on the ground – regarding majority of the government claims – belies the claims, according to the Gupkar Alliance.
“The slogan of ‘development’, in short, is a red herring,” Tarigami said. “Why then has the Central government done what it has?”
He added: “The common answer is that it has been a long-standing demand of the Hindutva elements, with an eye no doubt on altering the demographic composition of the only Muslim-majority State in the country...”