Friday, June 30, 2000,
Chandigarh, India



Autonomy for what, for whom?

MR Hari Jaisingh in his column “Frankly Speaking” (June 22) raised a very pertinent question: “Autonomy for what, for whom?” Dr Farooq Abdullah has periodically talked of more autonomy for Kashmir, but now he has raised a wildcat cry.

Jammu and Kashmir already enjoys greater autonomy than the other states. Why this demand for greater autonomy at this time when the valley is passing through the worst ever crisis?

Greater autonomy today, “azadi” tomorrow, Dr Farooq Abdullah’s freedom day after. Is he not treading the path that his father Sheikh Abdullah charted in the early 1950s to perpetuate his “Sheikhdom”? Why do you hoodwink people and divert their attention from the burning issues of corruption, maladministration and failure to curb militancy in the state, Dr Abdullah?

Pakistan and its collaborators are exporting terrorism to the valley and the state Chief Minister is decrying the armed forces for alleged human rights violations! Why does Dr Abdullah close his eyes to the interests of the Ladakhis, the harassed and uprooted Pandits and the Kashmiri Sikhs? Are they not the citizens of India? Why is he bothered more about the trigger-happy terrorists who have to be killed mercilessly — human rights or no human rights.

The Centre must delve deep into the changing attitudes of Dr Abdullah who would one day talk of the division of the state and the other day of making the Line of Control (LoC) the international border. He won’t mind handing over PoK to Pakistan if that can ensure his hold on the valley.


Dangerous game: One fails to understand as to why the Jammu and Kashmir politicians are seeking greater autonomy for their state. Jammu and Kashmir is a border state. Pakistan is waging a proxy-war in this state by indulging in terrorist activity. Pakistan-trained mercenaries and terrorists are freely operating in this area. To accord any sort of autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir is fraught with disastrous consequences.

India cannot afford to play the dangerous game of granting autonomy to a terrorist-hit state. In other border states also to allow any autonomy is not safe for the country’s democracy and sovereignty.

One wonders what tempted the Jammu and Kashmir leaders to demand greater autonomy for the state. All is not well in Jammu and Kashmir. Terrorists struck in Chatti Singhpora village of the Kashmir valley some time ago killing about 40 Sikhs. In the early days of militancy in Kashmir, Pandits had to desert their home for saving their lives and lead a life of fugitives. It is strange that politicians at the helm of affairs cannot ensure safe return of the Kashmiri Pandits to the valley. Instead, they are demanding greater autonomy for the state.

Bijhari (Hamirpur)

Role of Assemblies: When we are one nation, we should abolish all these states, which at times demand autonomy and convert these states into administrative units. Much had been done in the formation of laws, and now time has come when only one Parliament at the Centre can do.

The State Legislative Assemblies are white elephants and they have consumed crores of rupees without doing any beneficial work for the country. State politics has polluted the atmosphere in this country and, therefore, abolition of State Legislative Assemblies is the only answer to all these talks about state autonomy.


Exports to Pakistan

With reference to the news item “No wagons for exports to Pak”, published on 9-3-2000, it may be stated that though there was demand for loading at Amritsar for Lahore in Pakistan, it could not be effected due to the unavailability of wagons from Pakistan Railways for some time. However, the situation has now improved and the outstanding demand has been reduced.

The railway authorities are making consistent efforts to load goods for Pakistan as per the availability of stock.

Chief Public Relations Officer,
Northern Railway
New Delhi

Threats from N-plant

The proposal to set up a nuclear power plant in Punjab is really disturbing. Punjab is a densely populated state. Given the standard of efficiency in our country, a disaster is inevitable sooner or later. And it will be much worse than the Bhopal gas mishap, because the harmful effects of nuclear accidents continue for years.

There have been nuclear leakages in the U.S.A. The Chernobyl tragedy should not be forgotten so soon. Recently Germany decided to close down all its 19 nuclear energy plants. The authorities in India should desist from embarking on this dangerous course.


Why close down Pasban?

I appreciate the appeal of Mr R.D. Sharma Taseer of Chandigarh (16-6-2000) to save the Urdu magazine Pasban, published by the Punjab Government, from being closed down.

Pasban is a very popular magazine among the Urdu-loving people. During my recent visit to Moradabad (UP) I found a copy of this magazine lying on the table of a friend of mine, a clear proof of its popularity.

The Punjab Government should reconsider its decision to discontinue the publication of Pasban.



Thoughtless exercise

The forthright editorial “Emergency number” (June 27) castigated the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the country-wide sponsored show enacted the other day over the declaration of the Emergency in the country 25 years ago. What a thoughtless exercise on the part of the ruling BJP, indeed.

The party in question, it appears, wanted to utilise the occasion to paint the Congress black, using the much-maligned “Emergency brush” for the purpose. However, wittingly or unwittingly, it ignored the stark fact that the main actors in the “Emergency Drama” occupy prominent positions in the ruling outfit at the moment. The exercise is certain to boomerang.

Still worse, the party, for once, seems to have flouted the dictum that those who live in glass houses should not hurl stones at others, as the editorial points out. There would be absolutely no wonder if the party’s dark plan backfires and goes awry.

Ambota (Una)

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