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Five R’s required for ensuring peace and prosperity in J& K, opines Hon’ble Chief Minister of J& K , Mr. Omar Abdullah at Amity

To discuss and deliberate on the ways to restore peace and normalcy in J& K, The Global Economic Forum (TGEF) organized a lecture on “Basic Essentials for Peace, Prosperity and Progress of Jammu and Kashmir” Hon’ble Chief Minister of J& K ,Mr. Omar Abdullah at Amity University Campus, Sector- 125, Noida.

Welcoming the distinguished guest, Dr. Ashok K Chauhan- Founder President, Amity Universe and President, The Global Economic Forum said that it’s a golden opportunity for all those present to listen to the young, dynamic and visionary Chief Minister of J& K who wishes to regain the past glory of the state and urged the students to enrich themselves from his informative lecture.

Amb. Surendra Kumar (Retd.)- Director General, The Global Economic Forum (TGEF) outlined the vivid beauty of Jammu and Kashmir and how the terrorism is affecting the beauty and sanctity of J& K.

Sharing his thoughts with the distinguished gathering comprising of diplomats, senior Government officials, foreign ambassadors, senior officials, faculty members and students of Amity Hon’ble Chief Minister of J& K,Mr. Omar Abdullah said, “from the list of topics given to me, I chose “Basic Ingredients for Peace, Progress and Prosperity” because it allows one to look at the issues confronting J& K from a new angle. We always tend to discuss the issue in terms of a solution or resolution of the J& K issue, suggesting thereby that it has to be resolved in a give and take manner. Also, the focus of such deliberations invariably is on India, Pakistan and J& K. To identify the “basic ingredients for peace and prosperity” is a refreshingly new perspective, it focuses on the people of J& K. How to ensure that they lead a peaceful and prosperous life? By looking at it from this perspective, resolution will be the consequence of peace, progress and prosperity and not the cause. This is a big difference and will have a bearing on the nature of the measures that we take and initiate. Unlike when we focus primarily on the resolutions, wherein we can conceivably resolve the problem without changing the lives of anyone in the state. Will that help? Is that what we want? Most certainly not. First of all we must be clear on what needs to be done. To take the analogy of cooking, we must know what the dish that we want to cook?. The ingredients will automatically be decided. To My mind, this is the simpler part. To ensure peace, progress and prosperity, we need to make and enhance the stake of every individual in J& K in the political and economic system of the state and the country. The difficult and complex part is how to do it. Just like the basics of education are the three R’s, the basic ingredients of peace, prosperity and progress in J& K can be postulated as the five R’s. These are:
1. Restore the political structure.
2. Revive the Civil Society
3. Reconstruct the Economy.
4. Reform the Government
5. Rally the youth.

Many of you may not be aware of the intricate and tortuous history of J& K. I don’t intend to take you through all that but suffice to say that in 1951, recognizing the need for accommodation, an autonomous status was accorded to J& K. As a result of which the state has its own Constitution, flag and residuary powers. But between then and now, much of this status has been eroded. This has impacted everything, from political discourse to personal conduct, from economy to emotions, from society to sensibilities and from institutions to ideologies. A restructuring of the political arrangements is required neither as a sentimental sop nor as a concession to secessionist propagation. Autonomy for J& K had been designed to address genuine issues of “identity, borders and governance” in a consensual democracy. It prevents these issues from escalating and taking the form of “nation, territory and statehood” which sow the seeds of secession. Restoring autonomy is not about making a sovereign state within a nation, but it is about addressing and accommodating diversity, not only of identity but also of economy and development. The basic contours of autonomy worked out in 1951 were designed to preserve the identity of the people in J& K. Today, retaining some form of sovereignty is required to empower the people of J& K not only to get a fair share of national power and resources but also to be able to withstand and benefit from the new economic regime of globalization.

Much has been said about the failure of successive governments in J& K and also the national governments in delivering the goods in J& K. True as that may be, the fact is that the Indian civil society as well as the local civil society of J& K has not played its role in bringing about peace and prosperity in J& K. The political distancing of J& K from the Indian State is directly linked to the disengagement of civil society. J& K has never occupied the mental space of the Indian Civil society quite in the same way as it has in the political arena. It needs to do so now. For the vast majority of people in India, it is either a beautiful place to visit or it is dangerous place not to be visited, That’s all. We have to find ways and means for the Indian civil society to engage with and own up Kashmir, Kashmiris and Kashmiriyat. It is the civil society, more than the Indian state that needs to be introspecting and start the process of engagement at different levels.”

Responding to a question asked by a student about the plight of women in J& K, Hon’ble Chief Minister of J& K expressed his concern over the same and suggested education as the only means to empower the women in the state which can make them stronger.

Dr. Abid Hussain- Former Ambassador to USA also presided over the function and moderated the interaction with Amity students.

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