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10th January '2013
People friendly Government!

The recent full page advertisements regarding the achievements of the present state government especially their claim of being people friendly must have made Dr.Goebbels, Hitler’s propaganda minister turn in his grave! George Orwell, the author of 1984 must also be smiling in the other world on seeing these advertisements detailing various achievements. It is like the slogans lie is truth and slavery is freedom! People are not suffering from dementia. During last four years the oppression people have faced in airing their grievances publicly has been condemned by one and all and even globally. The 120 youth killed in excessive use of force in 2010 speaks volumes for the government being people friendly. Let us leave aside the basic political problem and see what has been happening in other spheres.

The Chief Minister has himself admitted in a total turn about to his propagandists that he has been unsuccessful in mitigating peoples’ suffering in regard to electricity, jobs for half a million educated unemployed youth and in dealing with corruption. There have been umpteen other problems faced by the common people like the recent LPG crisis which still remain unresolved. However, the major factor for making this government as the most unfriendly to the people is its intolerance to public expression of any opposition to its various decisions. Be it the employees of the same government demanding better service conditions or a number of other categories of casual or temporary employees or so on. Almost all are public protestors are showered with coloured water cannons, beaten with batons and blinded with tear smoke. The government does not tolerate any public expression of grievances because of its people friendliness!

This must be the only state where undeclared curfew is imposed in apprehension of imagined law and order problems. If you do not allow people to come out and express their grievances at all how do you presume that there would be law and order problems? There is only one conclusion that the authorities have a guilty conscience about people coming out en masse to prove that they have failed them miserably in spite of their coming out to vote in 2008 in large numbers on the promise of bijli, saddak, and pani! As regards the suppression of other public expression including the religious processions or congregations, local government has no control over it as these are dealt with directly by the Ministry of Home Affairs who have an ever nagging apprehension that every public expression in Kashmir has the potential to turn into a march for “Azadi”!This state is so people friendly that it has the unique distinction of house arresting people and refusing them the permission to pray in a mosque even on Fridays!

Apart from the administration being very unfriendly to the people, it is totally unaccountable from the top to the lowest rung. All the institutions supposed to ensure accountability or either headless or in total doldrums. The right to information act is not fully operational and the Chief Information Commissioner is unhappy about the government amending the law. Corrupt people instead of being booked and taken to task are rewarded with better and lucrative postings. Somehow most of the policies appear to be based on lop sided planning. The first and foremost job of the government should have been to take practical and realistic steps to make the daily lives of the common people comfortable. People are up in arms against the worst power scenario involving totally unscheduled interruptions; capping of LPG to six cylinders and massive rise in prices. Unfortunately, instead of addressing these issues, the government concentrates on short lived glamorous events involving huge expenses. The people friendliness of the government can be judged from the fact that the ruling elite live in virtual castles protected by commandos and security gadgets! They dare not move freely among the people to whom they are supposed to be friendly. Almost all important functionaries of the government have personal security officers and escorts.

A government which arrests a handicapped girl on the allegation of being a stone pelter;detains juveniles under the draconian legislation of the Public Safety Act; gives a clean chit to the unknown perpetrators of rape and murder of two women in Shupiyan; gets innocent youth killed by tear gas shells fired ostensibly for crowd control by its trigger happy paramilitary forces and lets the persons responsible for fake encounters go scot freecannot be called people friendly. They may stake claim to all the real or phoney achievements but the question whether they are people friendly is debatable. Let people themselves speak about it when the time comes!

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