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EditorialBrutality of Unsympathetic Governance

Brutality of Unsympathetic Governance


Anti-encroachment drives are a complex issue in governance, representing a balancing act between maintaining civic order and respecting the livelihoods of common citizens often labeled as encroachers. These initiatives, while aimed at reclaiming public spaces, must be approached with nuance, especially in a welfare state where the government is responsible for the well-being of its people. This responsibility extends beyond basic amenities to encompass the preservation of human dignity.

Often, those affected by anti-encroachment measures are marginalized individuals who depend on public spaces for their economic survival. Street vendors, traders, and artisans are examples of this group, who out of necessity, not choice, utilize these areas. Their activities are a practical response to socio-economic conditions, and they form the backbone of grassroots economies. The government should not disregard these citizens but instead engage in proactive dialogue, offering alternative spaces and resources before dismantling their means of subsistence.

In this context, the Kathua administration seems to have crossed all the limits of being an authoritarian dispensation as a recent news of a vegetable vendor's cart pleading before the anti-encroachment authorities to give him one last chance to move away with his cart which of course was a moveable set up that could have been removed by simply pushing it. But the loyal soldier of the Kathua Administration helming the ‘Peela Panja', which in actual is an earth remover, crushed the Rehri of the aforesaid vendor namely Sunny Singh, resident of Ward No. 6 Kathua, who had started this small of veggies after overcoming drug addiction which has infested the district due to its close proximity with Pakistan border and also , which is also notorious for drugs.

This incident raises questions about the government's role in job creation and employment provision. Devastating small businesses in the name of anti-encroachment drives is sheer misuse of power and those behind such a shameful act be taken to task as no one in the country has the power to snatch livelihood of people especially when the governments have failed to provide the same to hundreds of jobless, penniless and resources less people.

Notably, the Kathua administration extended a compensation of Rs 10,000 to the cart owner, Sunny Singh, for his loss. This gesture, coming after the video of the incident went viral on social media, can be interpreted as an attempt by the authorities to mitigate public outrage and save face.

In case of removing encroachments, a phased and empathetic approach, coupled with transitional support mechanisms should be adopted as government has a responsibility  to the ensure welfare of citizens and this responsibility is not selective but universal for one and all dwelling in this country.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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