JEHANGIR ALI | 3 DECEMBER, 2018
Governor Vs Former CM: “You Are A Senior Political Leader, Do Not Heed Frivolous Reports”
SRINAGAR: A series of controversial decisions by the Raj Bhawan in Jammu and Kashmir has angered the regional parties in the Valley who are accusing the Governor Satya Pal Malik of “eroding the special status” of the state.
After ‘downgrading’ the status of J&K Bank, in which the state government is a majority stakeholder, to a Public Sector Undertaking, and putting a freeze on land registrations under Roshni Act, the Governor’s administration is reportedly mulling changes in issuance of the state subject certificates.
In a letter to the Governor, former chief minister Omar Abdullah wrote of “attempt to distort the demography of the state” by “unilaterally bringing changes” in the working of institutions which, he said, would be “detrimental to J&K’s special status.”
The former J&K chief minister said these moves were “against the principal and spirit of democracy and participative governance”. “....any misadventure could disturb the fragile and precarious peace” in the border state of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The reports say that directions have already been issued to the concerned officials to make changes in the procedure pertaining to the issuance of these certificates. It is highly unfortunate that no wider consultations with any political party of the state and other stakeholders were carried out,” he said.
In his letter to the former Chief Minister, the Governor said that that as a “senior political leader” Abdullah should not heed such “frivolous and unfounded reports. In fact, you have an obligation to dispel rather than promote unnecessary mistrust among people. “ He said that Omar Abdullah was welcome to meet him any time “as you have been doing once in a while.” At the end of his letter to the former Chief Minister, the Governor quipped,”incidentally my fax machine was working and your fax was received and confirmed by my officer while you were tweeting that it was not functional.”
Former BJP ally and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti warned of a ‘2008-like agitation’ if the “governor’s nonstop tendencies” of issuing unwanted controversial orders related to J&K Bank and Permanent Resident Certificate rules.
“An unwanted order for transfer of land (to Amarnath Shrine Board) was also issued in 2008 and a public uprising across Kashmir forced the then government to withdraw the order immediately. This time when the governor has issued similar unwanted orders on permanent resident certificate rules and J&K Bank, I warn the governor’s administration of a 2008-like public uprising if it does not withdraw both the orders immediately,” she said.
Even the BJP ally and former minister in PDP-BJP coalition government, Sajad Lone, seemed upset with the working of Raj Bhawan, “The governor’s administration needs to restrict itself to basic governance. No structural changes pertaining to PRC or J&K Bank are acceptable. Restrict your energies to what u r mandated to do—which incidentally u r not doing. Please don’t invent new problems,” he wrote on Twitter.
Seeking to defuse the tensions, the Raj Bhawan said in response to Omar Abdullah’s letter that the government is not making “or even considering any changes” to the Act governing permanent resident certificates in the state.
“It is an integral part of the legal structure of Jammu and Kashmir and there is no attempt whatsoever to tamper with this law,” Governor said in his response to Abdullah.
“As for the matters in the rest of your letter, I would like to highlight that no changes in the procedural rules governing the issue of PR certificates will ever be done without larger consultations with all stakeholders,” the Governor said.