Govt, mainstream failed flood-hit Kashmiris: Think tank

A New Delhi-based think tank Sunday said the government as well as mainstream political parties had failed the flood-hit people of Kashmir.
During an interaction with media persons here, Seema Mustafa, the Director of the New Delhi-based think tank, Center for Policy Analysis (CPA), said CPA’s four-member fact-finding team, which is on a three-day visit to Kashmir, had found the State government had failed to set up a central authority for relief distribution or even set up a central control room during floods.
“We haven’t seen any urgency in the government considering that winter is around the corner,” she said.
On Government of India (GoI) not allowing international aid to Kashmir, Mustafa said she had seen a number of Sikhs in the Gurdwaras in Kashmir having come with international aid from Canada, United Kingdom and Australia.
“If Sikhs having Indian citizenship can come to Kashmir with international aid, I don’t see any reason why international aid shouldn’t be allowed,” said Mustafa, who wrote the authorised biography of former prime minister VP Singh ‘The Lonely Prophet’.
Mustafa said there was a major disconnect between New Delhi and Srinagar and what was being said in New Delhi did not happen in Kashmir.
CPA’s fact-finding team would prepare a report and make recommendations to GoI about the measures that need to be taken for streamlining the relief and rehabilitation process.
Anand Sahay, a journalist, who is part of the delegation, said the elected representative should be held accountable.
He said local sensitivities had not come through in the Indian media that only highlighted what Army and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was doing.
“No stories were done on the government failing to warn the local population or not distributing relief among the flood-hit people,” Sahay said.
He said that the people who had come forward to rescue the flood-hit people needed to carry forward the reconstruction and rehabilitation with the same spirit.
CPA has been actively visiting Kashmir and the last time prepared a report on the condition of Kunan Poshpora mass rape victims and the status of their case.
Tushar Gandhi, a writer and the great grandson of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, said the government was caught in rules, regulations and protocols.
“Those protocols are ok for normal times,” he said. “In disasters, spontaneous action needs to be taken.”
Gandhi, who in March 2005 led the 75th anniversary re-enactment of the Dandi March, said it was not the time to be bothered about New Delhi-Kashmir relations.
He said floods in Kashmir were an extraordinary situation and Government of India needed to expand the existing norms.
Besides, Mustafa, Sahay and Gandhi, the fourth member of the CPA delegation is Rajya Sabha member, Pavan Varma.
CPA Web Editor, Bulla Devi accompanied the CPA’s four-member fact-finding mission.