The scourge of corruption in Kashmir

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By: Abid Ahmad Shah

Kashmir which is known as the Switzerland of Asia and hogs the crown of the Indian Union, being the land of reshis, saints, sadhus, pirs, fakirs, etc. is today under the grip of looming corruption. Corruption has assumed the form of an unholy perpetuating institution, under the facade of false power and in the form of a growing malignancy that refuses to cow down in the current times. It is more so given the indifferent attitude of the government and also the silence of the masses. According to a recent survey, J&K state featured among top five corrupt states in India.

Kashmir which was once an abode of highest morality and boosted about its ethical standards is unfortunately in a state of moral waywardness under the garb of which people misuse their authority for their selfish gains and put a common man in a state of despair and official apathy.

Every department of the government is plagued with this problem which has taken a monstrous form refusing to go away. There are people who indulge in corruption in every governmental department as well as in private companies. Although, we cannot generalize, but given the statistics, one is amazed to see how low our society has gone and how deep the roots of corruption are spread.

According to Vito Tanzi, ‘corruption is the intentional non-compliance with the arm’s length principle aimed at deriving some advantage for oneself or for related individual’s from this behaviour’.

Corruption flourishes in a particular system and a particular ambience where the ultimate interventions flow and lead to victimisation of the innocents by the corrupt. It is due to lack of fear and respect for law that gives a free hand to the exploiters.

Government must act tough against these people who not only misuse their authority but also put the life of the common masses in perils. The recent outcry regarding functioning of government recruitment agencies has raised eyebrows over them and the system failures that lead to favouritism, nepotism. The people who seek the official and legal public services are victimised by the system while the officials who are otherwise there to help and assist have become like demi-gods.

However, since the collapse of the coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, thereafter under the auspicious aegis of former Governor N.N.Vohra’s rule, there has been a growing and an emerging tendency to curb this menace of corruption.

When the KVIB and CET scams have attracted the ire of all and sundry- who is to be blamed? For the overwhelming mass majority, corruption is antithetical to morality and ethical conduct. Unfortunately, the government and policy makers are paying insufficient attention to corruption and while public awareness is vital aspect to combat corruption, it is lest measured.

Kashmir can today be equated with a body diseased with the ills of corruption. The only reliable antidote is the political intervention in the form of a strong law and people’s perception of practical non-compliance with the corrupted officials.

When the twitter handle of the former Governor, N.N. Vohra received multiple complaints regarding cases of corruption, it evoked a response. Even, CPI (M) general secretary and MLA Kulgam has recently appealed Governor to curb the menace of corruption in order to restore people’s faith in the system. Fortunately, the former Governor N.N. Vohra took stock of the situation and acted nicely as the head of the state. There are hopes that the new Governor Mr. Satya Pal Malik shall continue monitoring such issues the same way as done by Mr. Vohra.

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