BJP 'Concocting Stories' After Aug 2019: PAGD

KO Photo By Abid Bhat

Srinagar: The Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on Friday said the BJP's claims of development and peace in Jammu and Kashmir post abrogation of its special status are nothing but "concocted stories" as the situation on the ground is different.

A spokesperson of the PAGD, the alliance of six mainstream parties seeking the restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, said the claims in the recently-released report by the Union home ministry, titled "The dream of one nation, one law, one symbol fulfilled: After effective removal of the provisions of Article 370, the picture has changed: a new start in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh", are far from reality.

The report claimed that the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 and bifurcating of the state into two union territories has paved the way for new industries, created new employment opportunities, decreased terror incidents, brought atmosphere of peace and security, nurtured democracy, eradicated corruption and brought the new central laws for the betterment of people in the region.

However, PAGD spokesperson M Y Tarigami, in a statement, said these claims "are nothing but concocted and fabricated stories", while the ground situation "belies" these claims.

"The claims are far from reality. The reality is that there is a systematic disempowerment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir that is continuing to happen, through bureaucratic rule," he alleged.

He said the projects mentioned in the booklet were mostly approved by the earlier governments, but shown to have been the outcome of abrogation of provisions of Article 370.

"Reality is that the Nashri Tunnel, Zojilla Tunnel, establishment of 50 degree colleges and various medical colleges are projects approved much before the abrogation of Article 370," Tarigami said.

He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 7, 2015, announced in Srinagar a reconstruction programme during the PDP-BJP coalition government of about Rs 80,000 crore known as the PM's Development Package to strengthen the social-economic infrastructure and for the development of Jammu and Kashmir.

It is claimed that after the reorganisation of the erstwhile state, 53 projects of Rs 58,477 crores in J-K and nine projects of Rs 21,441 crore in Ladakh are under progress, which is part of the PM's 2015 package.

"How can you attribute this progress to abrogation of Article 370?" he asked.

The alliance spokesperson said the BJP government is "boasting" of implementation of various laws like Land Reforms and the RTI Act, which is claimed to have been effective now, but is a "blatant lie" as Jammu and Kashmir was a pioneer in implementing the revolutionary land reforms laws, which no other state has done except Kerala to some extent.

Similarly, the erstwhile state's own RTI Act was stronger than the Union law.

On the employment front, he said we lag far behind and have assumed the highest unemployment proportion as compared to the pre-August 2019 period.

"The filling up of vacancies is a routine exercise, which was being done earlier also and now attributing it to the post abrogation era is beyond our comprehension.

"Whichever way we look at it, the removal of special status and of restrictions on land purchase by outsiders will not add an iota of employment; on the contrary, it will most likely cause a reduction in employment in the region, even as land passes into the hands of rich outsiders from Delhi or Mumbai," Tarigami said.

Prior to abrogation of provisions of Article 370, not only had Jammu and Kashmir kept pace with the other states in improvement in human development indices (HDI), some of the indicators pertaining to literacy rates, marriage and fertility, child sex ratios and school attendance rates for girls over six years of age were relatively better than those for Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Jharkhand, he said.

The projects pertaining to strengthening of power infrastructure and flood mitigation were in execution during the pre-abrogation era as routine developmental activities, Tarigami said.

He said the new industrial policy is "nothing" but a replica of the old one.

The BJP and the present dispensation cannot claim any credit for construction of Atal Tunnel, Jammu Semi Ring Road and 8.45 km-long, new Banihal Tunnel, and the world's tallest 467 meter bridge on river Chenab, he said.

The PAGD said the slogan of development is a "red herring".

"Why then has the central government done what it has? 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, rather like Israel is doing on Palestinian lands," he said.

Tarigami said the BJP government "being the product of a Hindutva-corporate alliance", almost everything it does also caters to a pro-corporate agenda, apart from promoting Hindutva.

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