Rayees Masroor [email protected])
During his much anticipated J&K visit, Union Home Minister Amit Shah addressed a historic public rally in Rajouri on Tuesday, where he assured reservations to the Pahari community of the UT.
Shah also addressed a rally in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district. It was Amit Shah’s first public rally in Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370 and as such drew a lot of attention from various quarters including media and civil society organizations.
It is worthwhile to mention that the people of Jammu & Kashmir including the youth have been waiting for a healing touch policy because J&K has been facing huge problems of rising unemployment and lack of economic opportunities. The Home Minister acknowledged that the youth of Kashmir are talented, energetic and enthusiastic. They have the capability to learn and explore the opportunities given to them. Importantly, they are willing to work to achieve their goals and aspirations.
Developmental Projects Initiated
India is experiencing a demographic window of opportunity, a youth bulge. In Jammu and Kashmir, more than 70% of the population is under the age of 35. Unfortunately, a large section of population between the age of 18 to 30 in the Valley is currently unemployed and is going through anxiety and depression.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit may be seen by the political analysts as a signal towards holding the much awaited elections in the UT but it has more significance for the common populace who are hoping for some generous measures from the centre government amid rising inflation and economic recession.
At the administrative level, the Manoj Sinha led LG government has been doing well and people are highly appreciative of the current dispensation, but it definitely needs more support from the union government to meet the challenges of rising unemployment and developmental initiatives. It is a good sign that the Home Minister Amit Shah has kickstarted many developmental projects in the valley which are much needed for the benefit of the general public.
The Centre is also expected to extend its help to the UT administration in the regularisation of hundreds of daily wagers who have faced an uncertain future for over three decades. After reaching Jammu on Monday for his three-day visit, Mr Shah had met with people from various communities including Gujjar-Bakarwal, Rajput, Pahari and Jammu Sikh. The pahari community has been desperately seeking ST status and reservation in Jobs and other government schemes along with Gujjar Bakkarwal community. Mr Shah has assured the same in his speech and while interacting with various Pahari delegations in the Raj Bhawan.
It has been appreciated that the Home Minister met dozens of local leaders, activists and delegations which has given a renewed hope to them as they believe that their concerns and demands will be sympathetically considered.
It is clear that Mr Shah would have registered a lot of public issues and these would need a comprehensive approach from New Delhi. It is expected that after this high profile visit the Prime Minister and the Home Minister are able to take the J&K UT out of this quagmire.
The dissolution of statehood and the subsequent Union Territory status has brought the region directly under the watch of the Union home ministry. So it gives more rise to people’s expectations who are only seeing formation of new political parties which effectively does not make much sense because the problems of the common masses have remained unresolved.
Focus On Economic Development
During his three-day stay amid a packed schedule, the home minister made sure he paid close attention to the problems of the erstwhile state. He met and interacted with diverse delegations belonging to various sections of the society. The visit was not much political in nature because the home minister tried to keep the focus on the development of J&K. Almost all his statements were more or less about improving the economy of the union territory and providing employment to the youth which is a very good sign.
The glaring reality is that powerful elements in governance structures over the years in the past have developed a vested interest in keeping common people underprivileged and deprived because this gave them access to huge funds and privileged positions in the administrative hierarchy. It is expected that after this second visit by the HM post abrogation of the special status, he shall issue all the necessary directions to destroy the undesirable nexus which prevents the common people especially the youth from raising their status and breaking the barriers of the elite.
Mr Shah after all these rallies, meetings and interactions is expected to announce a slew of measures and much-needed reforms to address the issues and concerns of youth, business class, industrialists and various communities including the paharis demand for reservation. Mr Shah also hinted toward the assembly elections in the UT although he didn’t give any fixed timeline. It is expected that the centre would like to provide some relief to the people and create a more conducive environment for the holding of the elections in the UT which has largely been peaceful during the last more than a year.