Politicians, after all, are politicians; destined to learn only that which, in their narrow view, will keep them afloat. Beyond that they shut the mind – even to those realties which stare naked from a distance. In fact the politicians feel pleasure in getting taken in by the mirage they conjure up to see themselves dressed up in the King’s robes. Those in Kashmir are no exception to the rule .
There is a perception in Kashmir: that the BJP led Central government is on a job to destabilize the constitutional position that defines JK’s relationship with the Centre. With the passage of time this perception is turning into the reality, as New Delhi has done nothing to dispel it. Contrarily, it has encouraged the forces that want to divide the state on communal and regional lines. The occasion, therefore, demands a unified and concerted move on the part of local leadership to ward off the threat, real or perceived. Though we hear right noises of forging a unity of sorts to resist the destabilizing attempt yet, in practice everything is done to dispel the notion of unity.
Mehbooba Mufti told Farooq Abdullah to arrange for a meeting with the PM Narrandra Modi, in Delhi, wherein political leaders of all shades from Kashmir will participate, to apprise him of the local sentiment and repercussions that may follow should there be any tinkering with the Constitutional provisions which mark the sentiment underlying Centre-State relationship. But Farooq Abdullah seems to have broken the ranks and met with the PM, only taking his son Omar Abdullah and one MP along with. Miss Mufti is on fruitless voyage to some areas of South Kashmir to resurrect her dwindling political fortune. Absence of her two Rajya Sabah members from the debate on Triple Talaaq Bill and their meeting with the PM tells an intriguing story.
The new star on Kashmir’s political horizon, Shah Faisal is on signature gathering campaign, ostensibly , to mark resistance to the BJP’s abrogation move . For some, this signature business is launched to muster the membership register of newly formed political party. Sajad Lone raises his feeble voice from a remote corner in the north Kashmir.
Rumblings have started in the political circles of the Valley on Farooq ‘s meeting with the PM. Mehbooba has not taken kindly to it. She feels ED had to do something with it and says nothing has come out of the exercise. Shah Faisal has been more forthright. He has described Farooq Abdullah’s move as one ‘to score a point’ . Perhaps, he is right in observing that it would have been better for the cause if NC leader had carried other political parties along with.
At the time when the need of the hour is to have concerted voice raised in defense of the state’s peculiar nature of relationship with the Union and be ready to thwart the destabilizing forces, the NC solo act seems to have widened the fissure. Make no mistake, BJP mangers look to be the Head Masters of the schools where Indira Gandhi had learnt the art of destabilizing the opponents. BJP has torn apart many political outfits in the mainland. It has entered Kashmir through the outside manufactured ULBs and managed Panchayat committees .
It is obvious. We are going through a period when new ‘normal’ is in the making. People have to guard the situation in J& K lest that ‘normal’ turns ‘abnormal’. The state is on a powder keg. Let us keep fire at some distance. We can’t be oblivious to it. For one issue we expect our political leaders to shed differences and come together to safeguard whatever little is left of the ‘autonomy’.
The BJP mangers must give due thought to the whole process. Claiming to be the nationalist party its actions must be such as not to cause damage to the lager national good. A peaceful and content Kashmir is always a good asset for the nation. It is the BJP’s legitimate right to increase influence and membership in the Valley . But there are no short cuts to the route . Party’s success to make inroads in the political arena , here , is largely predicated on its showing due respect to the local sensitivities . It will have to press in service its ability for a credible and meaningful dialogue with the Valley’s youth . Otherwise , as past experience tells us , its boast of hundreds of thousands of Kashmiris ( Muslims ) having entered its membership register will remain only in the paper register.
B L SARAF is former Principal District & Sessions Judge