AFSPA seems to have become the political hot-potato which every Political party in J&K likes to take up for discussion and debate once it is in opposition. They feel that by raking up this issue, they connect with people on ground, the voters who voted them to power and the workers who risk their lives for them. Be it PDP or National Conference, both parties leave no stone unturned when it comes to ridiculing the other over failure to either get AFSPA revoked or amended.

Pitch is raised so high as if to suggest that they made all efforts but failed to convince New Delhi to revoke this Act. From Journalists to Politicians to Babus, all talk in one voice about need to revoke the act or at last amend it to make it more humane. But what all of them forget is that it is not Union Ministry of Defence which has to take the first step or the last, something which both NC and PDP talk about almost regularly.

The Act clearly empowers the state government to decide whether situation demands Continuation of Disturbed Areas Act or not. If the state government would have ever been serious in revoking the Act, it would have taken the first step by withdrawing the disturbed area act from the district where it feels situation has improved. But we are yet to see any such serious effort being made by the government’s both present as well as of the past.

In this situation, it would be much better for government to concentrate on improving administrative machinery and ensuring overall development of the state. Terrorism has been contained to a large extent and with Army virtually back in barracks all over Kashmir valley raising hue and cry over AFSPA makes no sense. It is all for public consumption and there is no sincerity of purpose behind this.

Better road infrastructure, improved water supply system and robust mechanism to ensure electricity reaches every home in the state is the only way out. Those who feel AFSPA is an issue among people of J&K should vote that gone are the days when illiterates dominated the discourse. The Green flag and Pakistani salt days are gone. The scenario has changed all over the state and that too at such an amazing speed that one fails to cite any example of change at such a pace. They should stop befooling themselves as well as the people who vote for them.

AFSPA may be an issue for politicians, academicians and social workers but for common man, it is Bijli, Paani and Sadak that matters. They should prioritize issues pertaining to these three subjects and stop using AFSPA as tool to belittle other political parties. If they do it at the earliest, they would be the ultimate beneficiaries. But if they continue with rhetoric, results are going to go from bad to worst. Better they listen to their own people and stop going the advice of intellectuals and academicians completely disconnected with ground reality.


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