Unguided missile

Dogra certificate row over; but no end to regime’s lurking suicidal tendency Mercifully the threat of pushing Kashmir into yet another ‘hot’ summer appears to have been averted. Why, in the first place, the state government should have allowed itself to be caught napping over the ‘Dogra certificate’ issue remains an unexplained mystery even after the exorcist from Delhi had to be requisitioned again to drive away the ghost haunting its local acolyte. The timing of this intervention betrays nervousness. The state cabinet met in Jammu at the fag end of the Durbar Move to rescind its original order and replace it with the one designed by the union home ministry. Despite bravado, the local establishment seems to have been unnerved by the spectre of serious trouble in Kashmir because of itself. Nervousness was there in every action and reaction of the government that followed the disclosure that something surreptitious was happening.

Whether these fears were true or not the issue threatened to unleash a political storm. Understandably, deadlines for withdrawal of the meaningless order of the revenue ministry were hurled at the government which was preparing to move back to Srinagar from Jammu after trying its best (or worst) to avoid last summer’s hot experience. Statements revealing contradictory positions taken by various functionaries of the coalition government added to the confusion. A couple of amendments to the original order made the government’s position still more indefensible.

Chain reaction resulting from this vacillation fuelled the suspicion that the government was trying to hide something. Accusations of ulterior motives behind Dogra certificate were hurled by the opposition. The atmosphere was getting vitiated ominously because the government was unable to offer a convincing justification or remove doubts and suspicions resulting from its stupid action. Even though the source of the trouble has hopefully been got out of the way with New Delhi’s helpful intervention bad blood created by the controversy would take longer to go. Sectarian sentiments have been sharpened by interested elements and there is real danger that they might seek some alternative course to channelize them instead of allowing the tempers to cool down after the government’s belated retreat. It would have to be seen whether the order rescinding the original one is sufficient to assuage agitated feelings on the ground.
Call it accident or anything else, the trouble triggered by this issue exposes dangerous shortcomings in the quality and style of governance. This troubled state can ill afford to be saddled with such incompetence. Its consequences are horrendous. The coalition government lacks effective leadership and efficient command. May be that the lack of adequate experience is its root cause. Outbreak of yet another dangerous controversy, over the Dogra certificate issue, shows that even aptitude for learning from one’s own experience is missing. There is political cost to be paid for fire fighting trips to Delhi because this tendency exposes inherent deficiency in the leadership.

Deteriorating standard of governance marked by rampant corruption, administrative inefficiency and near-absence of command and guidance are some of the negative features identifying this regime. It has not shown any inclination towards improvement. But for New Delhi’s one more rescue act, this regime had all but dug its own grave.

Controversy over the Dogra certificate may hopefully be over but complacency would be unwise as well as dangerous, given the habitual suicidal tendencies of the present regime.