Will Jammu and Kashmir be two separate state’s from now?

Going by the recent updates in the media, it seems that Jammu’s civil society demand is soon to become a reality. The general public and the political administration of Jammu (and Ladakh), have been demanding a separate status now. They want Jammu to be a state. Till now, it is a part of Jammu and Kashmir region.

Their demand is based on multiple reasons, concerning the common people of their respective region (Jammu and Ladakh both).  Many ex-members of the political administration have raised their demand, in a very straightforward manner.

They have been vocal about their concerns on, economic and social aspirations of people. They are also concerned about preserving their cultural fabric. In addition, they have raised security concerns, due to the common turbulence happening in Kashmir (led by separatists).

“Jammu people have their own political social and economic aspirations which cannot be met under the failed 70-year old Kashmir-dominated dispensations,” Pawan Gupta, a former minister and independent MLA said.

He said the existing constitutional and administrative structure in the state is unitary and Kashmir-centric. “It is a structure that the Kashmiri leadership exploits to the hilt and on a daily basis to its own benefit and to the benefit of the Kashmiri people.”

What is the current scenario?

There have been expressed concerns relating to government administration (of Jammu and Ladakh), being overshadowed by Kashmir’. Given the strategic importance of Kashmir in India, it is really no surprise that most of the political focus- has been on Kashmir only. Therefore, Kashmir occupies major political attention. In addition, all important political officials (of J&K) are sitting in Kashmir only.

Many officials, representing the Revenue Administration, the Finance Department, the Police and Judicial Departments, are all centered in Kashmir. As a result of which, the state administration in Jammu and Ladakh, suffers or feels neglected.

Present government’s view

It was a promise made by BJP, to deliver a UT status to Jammu. A recent media report suggests that BJP is, now taking note of the gravity of the situation.

The media report highlights that BJP also wanted the creation of Regional Autonomous Councils for Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh regions and the bifurcation of the civil secretariat and other government departments.

“There is a need for the creation of Regional Autonomous Councils for all the three regions of the state, empowering the councils with legislative, administrative and financial powers.

“Each should have its own Assembly/Council empowered to make legislation for the region concerned, with each council having separate funds allocation from the Centre and power to generate its own financial resources and power of appointments against gazetted and non-gazetted positions in its own region,” BJP’s state spokesperson Virender Gupta said.

(With inputs from immortal Himalayas)

Pooja Bhatia