Srinagar, Dec 3: People in Kashmir particularly political conscious lot have been expressing resentment over frequent State Administrative Council (SAC) controversial decisions. People have been keenly watching and observing the meetings of SAC in which the Governor and its advisors are frequently taking decisions that are in other way the prerogative of elected government.
News Agency CNS talked to a number of people over the decisions taken by the SAC. Majority of the people are terming these decisions as ‘diktats’ imposed by Governor upon common masses of Jammu and Kashmir. “Governor has been appointed by New Delhi to look into the affairs of State. SAC headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik and its Advisors are taking decisions that are usually anti-people. The decisions taken over Public Safety Act, State Human Rights Commission, Jammu Kashmir Bank, Roshni Act and now Permanent Residence Certificates are all controversial that have invited sharp reactions from the common people,” said a Professor at Kashmir University.
The functioning of SAC has forced political leaders from State to remind the Governor his prerogative and limitations.
National Conference president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah said that his party’s “outside support” for the government formation in Jammu and Kashmir recently was “aimed to stall the governor’s intention to make structural changes” in working of state institutions and “protect the state’s special status.” He also said it was “highly unbecoming” of the governor’s administration to “fiddle with our institutions.”
Peoples Democratic Party president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti also warned the governor’s administration of 2008-like uprising if it does not withdraw “fresh orders” on rules governing issuance of permanent resident certificates (PRCs) and declaring Jammu and Kashmir Bank a public sector undertaking (PSU).
“The governor 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,” Peoples Conference Chairman Sajad Gani Lone tweeted.
The first controversial decision taken by SAC that angered people especially separatist camp was about Public Safety Act. SAC removed a legal provision that barred authorities from sending prisoners detained under the Public Safety Act to jails outside the state. With the amendment, the state government is now able to send prisoners booked under the Act to other states as well. Scores of people from Kashmir booked under PSA have been shifted to outside Jails. Over two dozen people are languishing in Haryana jail.
National Conference in its reaction said the move would lead to further alienation in Kashmir, separatists called the amendment ‘’despotic’’.
On November 22, SAC headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik gave a nod to the proposal to change J&K Bank Ltd to a Public Sector Undertaking (PSU). The decision has stirred controversy and has been criticized widely. It is being termed as a “seemingly economic intervention with political undercurrents.”
The State Administrative Council also cleared a proposal that rendered the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) incapable of probing any complaint of human rights violation submitted one year after the incident. Unexpectedly, the SAC gave its nod for amending “The Jammu and Kashmir Protection of Human Rights Act”, limiting to one year the time in which victims can approach the rights panel.
The State Administrative Council (SAC) also approved repeal of the Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001, (commonly known as Roshni scheme). Sources said that this Act was repealed because a Jammu based right wing group “Ikkjutt Jammu” was campaigning against it, saying “the act is used only to settle Muslim population in Jammu to change its demography.”
If sources are to be believed, the SAC will be expanded in coming days and more decisions about sensitive matters are expected. Sources added that a top bureaucrat from Lakakh will be appointed as Advisor with clear directions to see the affairs of Leh Division where BJP has almost lost its credibility.
A well known trader said that SAC comprises of members who have been selected and not elected and they have no mandate to touch with sensitive subjects.