Exposé points to institutional decay with serious ramifications for survival of democracy in the State: CPI(M) official

Several political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday demanded the constitution of a Commission of Inquiry headed by a Supreme Court judge to investigate into former Army chief General (retired) V.K. Singh’s reported revelations about misuse of defence funds in J&K.

The leaders, who were addressing a press conference, were State secretary of Communist Part of India (Marxist) Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, Peoples Democratic Front chief Hakeem Yasin, former MP Abdul Rashid Kabuli and Lok Jan Shakti Party (Youth) president Sanjay Saraf.

Expressing concern and astonishment over Gen. Singh’s reported revelations, the leaders said: “We are of the opinion that the import of these revelations, which have undermined the whole democratic process, have far more serious implications than what meets the eye in Jammu and Kashmir.”

“Just a credible, transparent, thorough investigation is the need of the hour to clear the air,” the leaders maintained. “The functioning of the Technical Support Division and other such units, which have been questioned over creating a dent in accountability and fairness in the entire institution, we believe, is fraught with dangerous consequences,” they said.

Mr. Tarigami said the exposé pointed to institutional decay loaded with serious ramifications for survival of democracy, particularly in Jammu and Kashmir where “huge sacrifices have been made by the people to strengthen this process [of democracy]”.

Holding that security agencies must confine themselves to their constitutionally defined mandate, the leaders said any overt or covert intervention by the security apparatus into the political domain was harmful and did not augur well for democracy. “It is not surprising that V.K. Singh Singh’s statements have [come] as music to the ears for a section known to be [opposed] to the democratic process. We firmly believe that it is finally through the democratic process that the will of people will prevail and any speculation before [facts have been ascertained] will only damage the broader interests of the people. The entire political spectrum in the State must desist from mudslinging and instead go [in] for introspection,” they added.

Any cover-up attempts, damage-control measures, complacency or unwillingness to conduct a thorough probe were bound to jeopardise the credibility of the democratic process, they said.

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