Where is PDP, by the way?
DOGRA CERTIFICATE ROW
PDP’S SILENCE ON THE DOGRA CERTIFICATE CAN HAVE TWO REASONS: EITHER IT DOESN’T WANT TO ANNOY JAMMU OR IT DOESN’T WANT TO ANNOY THE CONGRESS HIGH COMMAND, WRITES SUHAIB RUFAI
This much you know: Prior to the killing of Moulana Showkat Ahmad Shah, the Dogra Certificate controversy hogged the headlines of media, inviting simultaneously the attention and stiff reaction from the political circles and civil society in Jammu and Kashmir. That the issuance of this Certificate is an attempt to divide Jammu and Kashmir on ethnic lines was something unanimously echoed by the political circles, including leaders from the ruling National Conference, and the civil society members. The senior National Conference leader, Dr Mehboob Beg minced no words in asserting that the move is “an attempt to divide the state on communal lines, which is completely unacceptable to the party” while legal experts vehemently opposed it as something “which would help in the final dispensation of the state, as and when it takes places.” The news stories invited columns, letters and discussion in the concerned quarters, forcing the Jammu and Kashmir government—in a damage control exercise—to ‘amplify the order’ (God knows what ‘amplification’ means to them). However, unable to convince media persons on the need to issue the Dogra Certificate, the Congress Minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din finally made a statement to take the issue to the state cabinet for discussion. There was hardly a person who didn’t voice his concern for the Dogra Certificate. Even the separatist circles opposed the decision tooth and nail, with Syed Ali Geelani, the Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman, calling for a day-long shutdown and a seminar against the move.
However, notwithstanding the ‘sensitivity’ of the issue, the opposition Peoples' Democratic Party, not surprisingly though, maintained a criminal silence on the matter all along. From its president, Mehbooba Mufti, who would otherwise harp on soft-separatism card, to the party patron, Mufti Muhammad Sayed, who often attempts to woo public sympathy on K-resolution, didn’t utter a word on Dogra Certificate. If there was anyone to oppose it from the PDP circle, it was the former deputy chief minister, Muzaffar Hussain Baig who, in personal capacity, called the issuance of Dogra Certificate as a “divisive step.”
The PDP’s silence on such a vital issue reflects some of the important assertions that point to the ‘hollow talk’ that the party pursues on Kashmir, whose identity, as per the political leaders, columnists and observers, is under threat due to Dogra Certificate. The issue, for a moment, needs to be examined in the light of recent ‘pro-Kashmir resolution rallies’ by the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir. What is essentially being argued with regard to the Dogra Certificate is that the state government or the centre is aiming at ‘creating a parallel nationalism strain in Jammu’ to ‘simultaneously subvert the identity of Kashmir and Pir Panchal—Doda, Rajouri, Poonch.’ This clearly signifies the divisiveness in the plan and the larger conspiracy that is being hatched against Kashmir—which is the identity of entire Jammu and Kashmir in and outside the state. So if the Dogra Certificate touches the skin of every individual in Kashmir, how is PDP’s silence justified, especially in the backdrop of its so-called pro-resolution rallies? Why should people of Kashmir believe that the PDP president, who often sheds pro-Kashmir tears, albeit crocodile ones, that her party stands for K-resolution?
Without beating about the bush, the PDP’s silence over the issue can only have two reasons: either it doesn’t want to annoy Jammu or it doesn’t want to annoy the Congress High Command, which is being accused by many of being ‘hand-in-glove’ with the state Congress leaders in taking the Dogra Certificate move.
Before proceeding, a short note for the readers: After National Conference took over the reins of the state a couple of years back, the situation on ground made me feel that the Peoples Democratic Party was a ‘lesser evil’ when compared with National Conference. But I humbly apologize for my illusion. It is rather a bigger evil for a number of reasons: its dishonesty, camouflaging nature and of course, the tendency to play to the gallery, especially at a time when Kashmiri happens to suffer the most. So there is, to the say the least, no point believing in what the PDP often calls for. That is precisely because the party seems to be fatally dangerous to the Valley, given its silence on crucial matters the Valley faces. It may not be over exaggeration to say that the PDP is turning out to be synonymous to crude form of opportunistic politics—something which must be a concern for every single soul in Kashmir. This silence, as a friend puts it, is not out of ignorance, but out of that shrewd mindset that its party leaders possess when it comes to Kashmir—the hollow cries for resolution of Kashmir notwithstanding.
Here is something to substantiate the claim. Some months back, the PDP leaders, quite curiously, raised a hue and cry over the “victimization of Srinagar” by National Conference. An ordinary man would think that if National Conference victimized Srinagar, PDP would have done well to the city. But then there is more to the issue than meets the eye. As a long-time observer of the streets and mood in Kashmir in general and Srinagar in particular, one can safely conclude that while the National Conference victimised Srinagar, the PDP brutalized, destroyed and marred the essence of the city. If National Conference diverts funds meant for Srinagar to Jammu in a clandestine manner, the PDP had earned an ignominious distinction of ‘forgetting’ the city when it ruled the state some years back. And who would forget those clever attempts to create a wedge between the city dwellers and people living in rural areas that time? If I am wrong, slap me. But don’t forget that the Peoples Democratic Party got what is commonly referred to as the “CAPITAL PUNISHMENT” in the Assembly Elections in 2008. They lost miserably in Srinagar and not out of nothing. People in Srinagar had, by then, realized that it is better to vote for NC than PDP. Not because they loved National Conference, but because they had developed that hate for the Peoples Democratic Party which threw the city to dogs, to muck and whatever.
Srinagar is not alone the issue that PDP has been camouflaging over for quite sometime now. A few years, when Ghulam Nabi Azad took over as the Chief Minister of the Jammu and Kashmir in the PDP-Congress coalition, it marked a visible phase of ‘opportunistic politics’ by the PDP. Here Azad was, gradually and carefully, discredited for everything good he did for the state. This, as political circles believe, was done to downplay the developmental works he undertook, the funds he got for the state and the war that he vowed to launch against corruption. This recurring discrediting of Azad’s work was quite visible in the speeches of the PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti, who always beat (and continues to beat) the drum of her father “reviving the peace process, opening up Muzaffarbad road and give a sense of security to people.” While part of it might have been true, how should the credit go to Mufti Muhammad Sayeed alone if it was the Congress-PDP jointly making such moves? To put it with precision, Azad’s quitting as the Chief Minister, following the controversial Armarnath land row order, had more to do with PDP calling the shots and making Azad appear on the rough wicket. Even today, PDP leaders, particularly its president and patron, never make a mention of Azad’s works and efforts during the Congress-PDP coalition. On TV channels and in newspapers, it is only Mufti who is being projected as a ‘hero’—the general complaint that PDP added fuel to the fire at that point in time notwithstanding. Azad’s tenure, however, cannot be undermined. Who will forget that a senior police officer was handcuffed for being involved in fake encounters; why should one forget the developmental works across the state: the new Museum building (incomplete since he quit), the Assembly Complex in Srinagar, to name a few.
Of late, the PDP is turning out to be something too callous about Kashmir. This is not a complaint but information for general public to take a note of. Just recently, in 2010 unrest, the PDP focused more on Omar Abdullah’s resignation amid bloodshed on the streets of the Valley. At one point in time, Mehbooba preferred not to meet the All Party Delegation leaders in Srinagar when she could have made a point loud and clear about the killings there. The PDP boycotted a week long session of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly in Srinagar last year rather than rattling the house against the then “deteriorating law and order situation” in the Valley, in which over 115 people died.
PDP's boycotting the assembly session gave a chance to the government to conduct the session smoothly. As a responsible opposition they could have genuinely raised the issue of killings and the deteriorating human rights situation and made the government accountable. This, as many political activists believe, throws up this question: has New Delhi asked Mehbooba to keep mum or perish? Only Mehbooba could answer this question, which she didn’t.
Back to the discourse on the Dogra Certificate. The PDP’s silence should be a loud call for people to understand opportunistic politics in clear terms. While for the National Conference, this silence should be an opportunity to regain its lost image in Kashmir by revoking the controversial Dogra Certificate order, for, a grassroots level party should have the courage to call the shots rather than take dictations!
Lastupdate on : Thu, 21 Apr 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 21 Apr 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 22 Apr 2011 00:00:00 IST
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