No Space to Cry!
What are NC and PDP ‘crying’ for?
JUNAID AZIM MATTU
Afzal Guru’s hanging has angered and anguished Kashmiris. His journey from entrapment to indictment has been one that has defied the very canons of natural justice. From what has transpired in Delhi to the drama that has been enacted in Kashmir by the traditional mainstream parties, Guru’s hanging has perhaps again unraveled the brazen double-speak and hypocrisy of NC and PDP. Both parties have enjoyed political power at great costs to the people of Kashmir and their constitutional and democratic rights. Both parties have regularly partaken in the suspension of basic human rights in Kashmir and have simultaneously complained about the travesties of justice they ironically co-authored and facilitated.
Between NC’s ridiculous feigning of ignorance about Guru’s hanging and PDP’s double-speak, the aftermath of Afzal Guru’s hanging has yet again brought Kashmiris face-to-face with the decades old irony of how our traditional mainstream parties want both the space to oppress and rule Kashmiris as well as the space to mourn and cry on their behalf.
National Conference has been a co-author in some of the worst torments that Kashmiris have reeled under. The party was at the helm of affairs when Maqbool Bhat was hung in Tihar and their complicity in Afzal Guru’s hanging presents a feeling of déjà vu. While Omar Abdullah expresses his reservations about the hanging, Farooq Abdullah in Delhi calls it a “closed chapter” which followed the due process of the law. The son, who is the Working President of the party, expresses his dismay while the father, who is the party’s representative in the federal cabinet brushes apprehensions and sentiments aside with the wave of a hand.
PDP’s patron, Mufti Sayeed calls India a “banana republic” seeing that the media-gag makes it safe for his political interests to say so, while his daughter Mehbooba Mufti comes on TV the very next day in defense of Mufti Sahab, proudly saying that Mufti Sahab is an Indian by conviction. They want to oppose Delhi and unconditionally conciliate with Delhi’s decisions, including Guru’s hanging, at the same time. They want to coerce Kashmiris for self-seeking political power and also want to join them in their mourning.
Both parties are theatrical academies that put great focus on preserving their inherited traits of double-speak and hypocrisy in their narratives about the Kashmir issue – its various dimensions and manifestations.
The National Conference has three MPs (plus independent MP from Ladakh) in the UPA, including one Cabinet Minister. If the NC is in fact serious about its reservations to Guru’s hanging, what’s stopping the party from recalling Farooq Abdullah from the Cabinet and withdrawing its support to the UPA? If Omar Abdullah was serious about his opposition to Guru’s hanging, what stopped him from putting his own political chair between Delhi’s decision to hang Guru and Guru’s life?
The National Conference, make no mistake, is a partner in the decision to hang Guru – both as a partner of the UPA in the Center and as the party at the helm of power in J&K. The Chief Minister’s defense of ignorance about plans to hang Guru seems to be a dubious claim. A media report by noted journalist Harinder Baweja has quoted highly placed sources in the Home Ministry confirming that the Chief Minister was sounded of about the impending execution around 10 days prior to Guru’s hanging. From the CM’s interview to Anubha Bhosle, it’s amply clear that the Chief Minister chose to go with Delhi’s decision without so much so whispering a word of dissent. Apparently he doesn’t believe in sending messages or registering protest. Not at least when he is in power.
The question I ask is simple and straight. Does either NC or PDP have a right to cry for Kashmiris? They have chosen to be apologists for power. They have chosen to not “send messages” and they have chosen to barter the prospects of stability and justice in Kashmir for badges of good behavior from Delhi. How then can they weep on our behalf?
The traditional mainstream parties are in politics for the redress of governance related grievances. The political sentiment in Kashmir stems from the aspirations of the people. The traditional mainstream parties should realize the moral limitations of their mandate and give Kashmiris, if nothing, but at least the space the cry. That space to cry is sacrosanct and sentimental. They have chosen to partake in the coercion and suppression of their people for decades now. The least they can do is to not pollute that space to cry – neither in newspapers, nor on TV channels. Mourning is the last refuge of a disheartened people. Don’t deprive them of their right to mourn their fate.
(Junaid Azim Mattu is the Srinagar Head of Peoples’ Conference. Views expressed are personal)
Lastupdate on : Fri, 15 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 15 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 16 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST
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