Divided we stand

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

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