SRINAGAR: Mainstream political parties in the Valley on Saturday reacted sharply to Jammu and Kashmir Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam’s remarks accusing them of misgovernance and corruption, saying such allegations put a big question mark on his professionalism and impartiality.
The chief secretary seems to have forgotten the service conduct rules and he should work to strengthen institutions of governance on the ground rather than talk about political issues, they said.
Earlier, Subrahmanyam had said Jammu and Kashmir was a “broken state” and there was “no system” in place due to years of misgovernance, corruption and “unbelievable levels of fraud” committed by leaders of mainstream parties and separatist organisations.
Therefore, not a “single soul had cried” over the detention of political and separatist leaders in August last year, when the Centre announced its decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution, he had said.
The government also bifurcated the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into Union Territories (UT) — Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh — on August 5 last year.
Terming the chief secretary’s allegations baseless and politically motivated, the National Conference (NC) said Subramanyam’s remarks had brought forth the “veiled political affiliations” of Jammu and Kashmir’s top bureaucrats.
“It cannot be a coincidence that BJP and its leadership have been parroting the same line of thought over the past one year. The language used by the chief secretary while hurling allegations against mainstream political parties is exactly similar to what BJP is saying,” NC spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar said in a statement here.
Such sordid allegations by a civil servant put a big question mark on his professionalism, work culture and impartiality, he said.
The NC leader said it is “quite alarming” that a serving civil servant is “overtly spewing venom against the entire mainstream political spectrum to hide the abject failures of the administration under him since 20 June, 2018”.
“The allegations should not be seen in isolation, they are aimed towards uprooting the leftover roots of an already withered democracy in J-K.”
“It won’t be an exaggeration to say that such statements emanating from the top administrative positions seek to give credence to its unresponsive, undemocratic, unrepresentative rule in J-K,” Dar said.
Subrahmanyam’s statement also reveals his “own hyper-partisan disposition and the proclivity of the GoI (government of India)” to maintain the status quo of confusion, chaos, misgovernance and fear in Jammu and Kashmir, he added.
Subrahmanyam, a 1987-batch IAS officer who was hand-picked by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “clean up” the Jammu and Kashmir administration, said misgovernance and corruption had continued for so long that the system collapsed from inside.
The chief secretary said he has been working sincerely to create a robust institutional infrastructure that is free of corruption.
Senior CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami asked what the chief secretary’s administration had done to eradicate corruption in Jammu and Kashmir in the last two years when there was no elected government in the region.
“If frauds have been committed by some people who have remained in authority, what is stopping the administration from making them public and booking the offenders?” he asked.
“We had been demanding transparency in the functioning of every branch of the administration, including J&K Bank, for a long time,” he said.
“Levelling baseless allegations against politicians without any credible evidence is fraught with serious consequences,” Tarigami said, adding that bureaucrats come and go.
The Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference (JKPC) termed the chief secretary’s remarks “delusions of grandeur”.
“Kashmir has this problem where people get delusions of grandeur. It seems like the chief secretary is the latest victim. We extend our sympathies and hope he comes out of it. We also hope that Delhi comes out of its delusions,” party spokesperson Adnan Ashraf Mir said.
“If the utterances of the chief secretary are any indication of what he thinks of himself and what he briefs his bosses in Delhi, then Delhi doesn’t need enemies in Kashmir,” he said.
The JKPC leader said the last one year has been the “tyranny of the unelected” in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Sitting in ivory towers and lecturing politicians is easy, let these officers come on the streets to display their public support now that they have aspirations of replacing the elected representatives,” he said.
The fledgling Jammu Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) said the chief secretary seems to have forgotten the service conduct rules.
“All the government employees including bureaucrats are supposed to remain apolitical and give people a fair deal of governance which is entirely lacking in J-K,” senior party leader Ghulam Hassan Mir said.
The remarks by the chief secretary were legally and ethically unwarranted, he said.