Squeezed, people repeat the folly and reap the bitter
Planted in Kashmir the PDP popped to prominence to fill the vacuum of an opposition party in the turbulent times. The terribly squeezed Kashmiris looked upto it as an alternative to the grand old NC and believed in its ‘healing touch philosophy’. A sense of belonging from someone close to corridor of power in Delhi and help in deescalating the cyclone of terror people yarned for. On this glimmer of optimism the new ‘regional’ party bent its antennae and exploited it to the hilt. With father donning in the robes of Santa Clause, doling the pledge of reprieve in persecution and publicity savvy daughter kissing and hugging the victims of ‘ state terror’, the PDP cruised from one assembly seat in I996 to a stunning 22 government formation number.
The change of hands and faces, played on the vantage point of virginity, soon unveiled the malicious intent that it was not for change of hearts. That political fortunes and self interests mattered far more than collective community interests. The shock delivered in 2008 was frightening. Massaged to strike unparalleled, the PDP stabbed a dagger. While Abdullah dynasty and NC collaborated with Delhi in denying us the political autonomy (what State High Court in its latest judgment called ‘ limited sovereignty), the Mufti duo and PDP conspired to do a Palestine in Kashmir. With the difference in execution of strategy. Here in place of bulldozers, the PDP used velvet gloves of the Cabinet for the kidnap and the kill. Who knows, with Modi in power and RSS in belligerent mood, the Amarnath Nagar might have stretched beyond its ‘territorial limits’ of 1000 kanals, which PDP-Congress coalition had clandestinely transferred to Amarnath Shrine Board, created by Farooq Abdullah.
Losing to NC after people tasted incumbency woes and betrayal of PDP was not that unexpected. But there could have been nothing different from the NC that ruled through task force and imposed POTA even when its architects were dithering in its implementation in the rest of India. Without referring to the party manifesto, the strafing we got under the leadership of young scion of Abdullah family from 2008 to 2009 to 2010 tempted to forget PDP woes. Discrimination in administrative units and collapse of administration during the deluge precipitated Omar’s fall from grace. The negatives piled up, in lack of better alternative, were ready tonics for the dispirited PDP to make a come back.
Now look at the BJP-dominated regime we are in the cross-hairs of. From the day one PDP courted BJP, the electorate in Kashmir are virtually biting their palms. The party is castrated of its regional identity and is doped to implement Nagpore agenda like setting of composite colonies, distribution of permanent resident certificate from schools( since scuttled because of mass resentment), choking political dissent, disempowering assembly from rinsing the statute book of certain laws or provisions that have assumed the character of fossils and have become redundant or are offence to the constitution. On murderous assault of Engineer Rashid, assembly speaker’s attending the function of RSS, not allowing resolutions seeking protection of Article 35-A of Indian Constitution (that guarantees state subject rights of JK citizens) and on beef the PDP behavior conveyed it has sibling relationship with the Hindutva party. Space restrains us from giving further details. This drift from its constituency imperatives does not, however, place Omar and his party on a moral high. In fact what Mufti does for BJP without wearing RSS uniform, Omar would have gone extra mile.
Betrayed and disappointed the people wait for the ‘ opportune’ time to dump their accumulated anger and hate on the party whose inflicted wounds stay fresh. For lack of any credible alternative the party in opposition again fills the choice. The freshness of the scars burns them to forget equally dreadful immediate past of her. But this pleasure of vengeance does not change the nature of the lethal politics they are subjected to. So in a web of deceit they get locked in, unwillingly of course. They are lured and driven to a political quagmire they can hardly pull safe, as the choices of either-or boomerang with the same end result, with no other helping hand in sight. This sulkiness being promoted and forced by our resistance leadership is a godsend for the toadies of the Durbar. They know notwithstanding their tenures of lumpenism and thuggery they have intact their vote bank, which ensures their return to power, alternately of course. In that case our woes are constant, our agonies perpetual. To the wanton boys who play us for sport, we one time scream, one time laugh. That is our ‘ special status’!
Babysitting with just one course of reaction to a plethora of challenge is counter productive and, honestly speaking, has proved counterproductive. As this column has been repeatedly insisting, basic sentiment holds inviolability and should never be compromised. But we cannot blindfold to the hard realities. More entrenched the careerists and lackeys become, more threat is to our interests including demography and identity which provide cushions to what we hold sacred.