Deluge, devastation plague fractured Paradise

Not so eventful: Militancy-striken Jammu & Kashmir has too many disasters to cope

Deluge, devastation plague fractured Paradise

The year 2014 can well be called as one of the eventful years in Jammu and Kashmir history as it brought devastation in the state in the form of September deluge. The year had started with the hope as besides the Lok Sabha election, the state was due for Assembly elections by end of the year. The year also saw a record number of visits by any prime minister.

The year started on a bad note for coalition partner Congress as one of its senior minister Shabir Ahmad Khan was booked for allegedly molesting a female doctor inside his office chamber in January. Incidentally, the female doctor was wife of a senior separatist leader.

In February, the state cabinet accepted to incorporate some important provisions of 73rd Amendment in State Panchayati Raj Act which was a long pending demand of Congress party in the state.

 Later in the month, in a fratricidal incident, a trooper shot dead his five colleagues before shooting himself with his service weapon in an Army camp in Safapora area of Ganderbal district.

In March, more than 60 Kashmiri students were suspended by the authorities of a university in Uttar Pradesh for celebrating Pakistan’s victory over India in a cricket match. The issue raised tension in the state forcing Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to take up the issue with his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Akhliesh Yadav.

The April-May parliament polls saw decimation of the ruling National Conference-Congress alliance with regional Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) sweeping Kashmir Valley while national party BJP claiming seats in Jammu region and lone seat in frontier Ladakh region.

Later in May, in a clear snub to Kashmiri separatist leadership, the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi for the first time in the recent history didn’t invite them to meet with visiting Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Pak premier was in Delhi to attend Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony.

In June, Parvez Rasool created history by becoming the first cricketer from Jammu and Kashmir to represent Team India.

In July, Narendra Modi on his first visit to the state after taking over as prime minister asserted that former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s dream of restoring peace in conflict hit Jammu and Kashmir will be realised.

Next month, Modi on his second visit to the state after becoming prime minister, sent a strong message to Pakistan saying the neighbouring country was waging a proxy war against India as it has lost the strength to fight a conventional war.

In September, the state witnessed disastrous floods across majority of its districts caused by torrential rainfall in which more than 280 people were killed and property worth billions destroyed. Several thousand villages across the state were hit while nearly 2600 villages were completely submerged.

Several parts of capital Srinagar, including the Border Security Force (BSF) headquarters uptown in Sanant Nagar and Army cantonment in Badami Bagh, were inundated. Vital roads remained submerged for weeks while communication networks, electricity and other essential service broke down after September 7.Following devastating floods, there were apprehensions that the Assembly polls might be postponed.

 However, ignoring the objections of the ruling National Conference on the plea that atmosphere was not conducive in the aftermath of floods, the Election Commission in October decided to hold five-phase elections from November 25 to December 20 in five phases.

The five phase elections, which saw highest turn-out in the Assembly polls in the last 25-years with an estimated 65 per cent of voters casting their votes, returned a highly-fractured verdict in with Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led PDP emerging the single largest party throwing up different possibilities in government formation.

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