Consensus Eludes CSC On Justice Saghir Report

Consensus Eludes CSC On Justice Saghir Report

23 August 2012
Rising Kashmir
Wasim Khalid

Srinagar: The government Thursday admitted that there is lack of consensus on Justice Saghir report as Congress ministers, who are part of cabinet sub-committee (CSC) looking into recommendations of the report, have serious ‘reservations’ and ‘differences’ over many parts of the report. The CSC has already submitted its interim-report without its recommendations about core issue of autonomy to the government. It was supposed to be discussed in the cabinet meetings. But the government has failed to include the issue in the cabinet agenda during last three months. Sources within Congress admitted that the party has got reservations over some parts of the report. “Any move can have serious repercussions on the party politics at the national level. Recommending ‘autonomy’ for Jammu and Kashmir would seriously dent Congress image as opposition BJP and other parties would whip-up nationalistic slogans to garner support for electoral politics”. Senior Congress leader and Revenue Minister Raman Bhalla, who is part of the sub-committee, said there are some differences over Justice Saghir report. “There are some sensitive issues which need to be taken into account. Let us see how it will come out. We want to sort out the difficult issues”. He said the Saghir commission report could not be deliberated from past more than four years as many points of differences of opinion within the sub committee members were yet to be sorted out. Sources said Congress leaders opine that 1975 accord should be the base for any debate as the then chief minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah has sorted all issues including autonomy. Senior NC leader and Minister for Law and Panchayati Raj, Ali Mohammad Sagar, who is also part of the Cabinet sub-committee said final recommendations on the report have been delayed. “It is taking time as there were some ministers within the sub-committee, who have issues and differences over some parts of the report,” he said. Without revealing names of dissenters in the cabinet sub-committee, he said every party has its own political agenda and its leaders stick by it. “NC stands for autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir. Justice Saghir has submitted its report to the government. He has given his recommendation as well which I guess everybody knows,” he said. Justice Saghir in his report had stated that it was for people of Jammu and Kashmir to decide how long to continue Article 370 in its present form and when to make it permanent or abrogate it. The working group said the demand for autonomy “can be examined in the light of the Kashmir Accord or… on the basis of some other formula as the present Prime Minister may deem appropriate so as to restore the autonomy to the extent possible”. It rejected the proposal for Union territory status to Ladakh Sagar said sorting out issues with some ministers within the sub-committee is delaying the recommendations of the sub-committee over the interim as well as final report. “GoI has also asked the State government to submit the recommendations,” he said. It is pertinent to mention here that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh set up five working groups on Jammu and Kashmir in 2006. The four working groups have already submitted their reports in April 2007 to Prime Minister. However, the 5th Group looking into Centre-State relations headed by retired Supreme Court judge Saghir Ahmed submitted its report in December 23, 2009 to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. The State cabinet constituted a cabinet sub committee headed by Finance Minister Abdur Rahim Rather to examine the report and submit it to government for further consideration and approval of Cabinet. Others members of Cabinet Sub- Committee are Minister for Rural Development, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Sagar, Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Taj Mohiudin, Minister for Tourism and Culture Nawang Rigzin Jora, Minister for Industries and Commerce S S Slatahia, Minister for Health and Floriculture Sham Lal Sharma, Minister for Consumers Affairs and Public Distribution and Transport Qamar Ali Akhoon and Minister for Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation Raman Bhalla. The Cabinet Sub-Committee has not submitted its recommendations to the Cabinet despite holding series of meetings under the chairmanship of Finance Minister. The first meeting was held on January 28, 2011, second on June 1, 2011, third on August 8, 2011, fourth on December 27, 2011, fifth on February 17, 2012, sixth on March 27, 2012 and seventh on June 14, 2012.