When diagnosing is incorrect, remedies are sure to prolong the affliction. But when intent of curing the ailment is masked in deceit, disease turns into a festering sore, with predictable fatal implications. In the first case, however, there still is hope for better as diagnosis route is liable to change. But in second case, remedy worsens the prescription as the intent is malicious. It is to engage with the ‘conflict’ though not heal it up to lasting solution. It is to keep with the obstinacy of military hubris under the fig-leaf of democratic expression. Fed on full blossom of promises and assurances, the miseries far from getting cured aggravate and multiply. Alas, the approach of Indian leadership and its powerful media towards Kashmir problem reflects a typical syndrome-- let grab the time to set the rot in and slowly but surely raise the imperial edifice on the rotten bones.
Even on days when Delhi showcases its ‘democratic’ phantom belief to the world through, what it says, the ‘serpentine queues’ Kashmiris become prey to this avaricious dream.( Eight innocent unarmed civilians were fired on to death, hundreds maimed for life and scores pellet-blinded through ‘ security’ forces last Sunday when Delhi went with its response to Kashmiri’s urge for Aazadi.) The election day India stages republic in Kashmir, an ‘auspicious’ day that would make them boast Kashmiris have ‘expressed faith on the democratic system of India’. The polls they have used as tools to silence their critics both within and abroad. At UN the elections in Kashmir, whether parliamentary or State assembly, or Panchayat Delhi has used as an alternative to the plebiscite, it promised to hold under UN auspices. Delhi claimed the ‘huge participation’ of people in elections during the past seven decades vindicates its stand. It kept on trumpeting that large turn-out has made Hurriyat ‘irrelevant’ and reduced Pakistan to the mocking position of a strong witness pleading for a weak plaintiff ( Mudee sust, gavah choost).
It was Delhi that perched itself on moral high when it not only accepted UNSC resolution on Kashmir, but also assured the world body that constituting State Constituent Assembly in early fifties was solely for addressing the local issues. But UN Security Council strongly reacted against Indian designs of robbing Kashmir of its international character and denying Kashmiris right to plebiscite it promised. The Council in its March 30, 1951 resolution said ‘ the final disposition of State of JK will be conducted through free and impartial plebiscite conducted under the auspices of United Nations. Indian leadership still ‘assured’ the UN that it remains committed with the pledge. By 1953, India declared there was no need to hold plebiscite citing elections to JK assembly it had rigged. It argued that Kashmir assembly ratified the deposed Maharaja’s accession to India. But UNSC again reiterated that future of the State was to be determined by free and impartial plebiscite and any unilateral action like holding state-managed elections by India could not substitute the plebiscite.
The fact of the matter is that, as in Scotland and in other disputed areas, the elections in JK are a requirement for addressing issues of local governance and not related to plebiscite, which has wider dimension and involves UN and Pakistan as well. But Delhi kept on pleading and presenting elections as alternative to right to self determination. And put curbs on those who contradicted its version.
This time also entire resistance leadership and their activists were detained and restricted from any access to people, let alone carrying the campaign of election boycott . The internet was banned 12 hours before the polling started for the Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary segment and many youth rounded up, yet the Burhan after-shocks continued to jolt the State. The result was 7 per cent voting, lowest in six decades. The boycott was predominantly voluntary in nature. The people stayed away even in areas known for high voter turn out, something not seen before. This shows anger is endemic and distrust absolute. The people have deep cynicism and disillusionment with the pro-Establishment politics. They have rammed through their awful blackmail gimmicks.
If the large turn out in earlier elections would make India swell in pride for having regained much eroded public trust and would sell it in international market as a public endorsement in favor of India’s stand on Kashmir, the same logic dictates New Delhi accept the verdict the people have delivered now. The undeniable truth is 95 percent people have punctured a big hole on India’s claim on Kashmir. Even by Indian standards the verdict is transparently loud and clear. That unmistakably calls for Delhi to revisit its rigid approach and engage with the Huryat that represents the dominant narrative Kashmiri youth are, or seems to be, emotionally integrated with.
Mehbooba Mufti’s assimilation in Indian mainstream has reached perfection. PDP has outsmarted even NC in deceptive politics and inflicting brutalities on Kashmir. When Kashmir has stood in defiance as one body in one soul, decimating all false constructs built on ethnic, religious, regional and sectarian lines, she would jump in ecstasy-- to appease her lords in Delhi. ‘Only five percent’ people here demand Aazadi, was the rhetoric she would pellet out. Now not only 95 per cent people have boycotted elections, the fear of the vote percentage further dipping below a miserable 5 per cent low have frustrated the government to take the extreme unprecedented step-- defer the Anantnag parliamentary election, scheduled on 12 April, till 25 May. But that kind of manipulation is not going to change the tide against politics of betrayal. The die has been cast.
The writing on the wall is clear, not only for Delhi, for all props it groomed and became part of its political machinations. No one is going to take Abdullah duo seriously on their heroics in bleeding their fingers to credit martyrdom. Their treachery, butchery and double-speak is cast in stone. You cannot have the luxury of enjoying the ride of people you fed with false promises to amass political fortunes. The political space of Indian mainstream polity has shrunk, and as much for the NC as for PDP. Asking India to ‘wake up’ sounds hilarious for it is Abdullah like Trojan horses Delhi used to provide fig-leaf to its de-facto control. While Farooq Abdullah has won in numbers in the Srinagar by-poll, he has lost in credibility. With 7 per cent votes polled, his representation is farcical and devoid of any political legitimacy. But when has questions of morality and integrity crept in the politics of servitude he and NC leaders worshipped throughout their political career? He is part of the system that grinds us in. Far from resigning against the sinking shame of mere 3 per cent votes he got, he is doing everything to consolidate the Establishment. He is too cold to public sentiment and their expectations.