Does PUF echo MUF?

The Jammu   and  Kashmir Peoples Movement (JKPM ) headed by Shah Feisal  and  Er. Rashid’s Awami Ittehad  Party  have    made  an alliance  to fight election for the next Assembly in the State  and named  it  as   Peoples United Front    – PUF.    The leaders told the media that the alliance has been   necessitated  by the “ ongoing political uncertainty  in the state, apprehension about the assault on its special status and absence of any credible political alternative in the state that could address both political vacuum and lack of good governance.” These are standard words uttered by every politician who  deserts  the   ship, or  wants to create    his own political outfit.

PUF reminds us of MUF of 1987. The agenda of    PUF outlined  by the   leaders alleys  fears  that, except for  the  rhyme, PUF  won’t  match with the MUF of 1987, in as much as  the mew  alliance  has  an inclusive  character. We     hope the   government agencies  will not  deal with this  political combination  the  way    they   dealt with the MUF  in Assembly   elections of   1987, whose  disastrous  side effects we are   still   reeling under.

 The  political  actors   in the state  have behaved in such a manner  as to make people  really   cynical and weary about their intentions. The two leaders, therefore, must  convince  a common man   about genuineness of the move.  Er Rashid has been in the business for a while now, Shah Faisal   being  new entrant to the game of politics,   may have to face some odd questions. Questions which in normal course   won’t   be  asked. But we live in  abnormal world.  People say  why   there is mushrooming of  political outfits in the Valley, only. True to our habit of finding ‘conspiracy ‘ everywhere,    the theory is making  circles about  emergence of  JKPM and  PUF.   People asking questions can’t be  faulted.   Apprehensions are not  misplaced. GoI   did    try   to introduce  so many ‘ stake holders ‘and extraneous   factors     to the  K  problem,  only to deflect the real  issue. Attempt is  still  on.

  Despite     the   relentless military action,    security situation in Kashmir  has  shown  no signs of the improvement. Violence   continues  to devour young and old.  Someday dialogue process will have to start. It is becoming  problematic;  who will  hold dialogue  on behalf of  Kashmiris. True, PM  Modi  has   so far  betrayed no sign of being in urgency to have a dialogue   but, given the  rising  death toll of  civilians and the security forces, it can’t be   the  usual business for long.  Other  option  must be exercised.  Someone will have to be  located   to start talking   with, sooner than later, to find a  way ahead.  To be fair,   many a ‘ stake holder ‘ have ruled  themselves out   for their  espousal  of a  blatant one  sided view.   Having let loose NIA  after  some prominent   Separatists, Modi  can’t be seen  talking  to them, so soon. 

It is heartening to note that Mirwaiz Umar Farooq      has    urged Centre  to hold dialogue,  to which   he   will respond    positively. Governor  Malik has  appreciated the stand.

Hurriyat  never  conceded a  right to the NC and PDP   to  speak for Kashmiris.  In  turn,  later    denied   former     the sole agency to represent the people in the Valley – for not having  a verifiable   mandate from them.    Centre  has same argument to  exclude the separatist from the scene. Though none can deny   that both Syed Ali Shah  Geelani and Mirwaiz  Umar Farooq  command a huge  following  in Kashmir and some  places beyond the Valley.  For sure, no peace effort  will succeed  in absence of their Ashirwaad  – explicit or  implicit.

It is a good omen that young and educated  are  joining  politics. It is natural that old and entrenched political  forces  feel threatened. The  threat is real for those who treat political  party as  a  propertied     concern, managed by the family   that  shows   utter disregard  for the aspirations and sensitivities of a common man. While  there is no denying that NC, PDP   and other Valley  specific political parties have a role to play,  space has to be made for others  to bring in fresh ideas   and to jolt  those  who claim it their  hereditary right to   rule us. They must be thrown  out of the  comfort zone.

 PM   Modi and Amit Shah are galloping in the political   landscape of the country. Well, none can deny them a right to spread political wings  across  India    – J & K   included. We have  only to tell them that    their political march to the  Valley    must be   conditioned  with due regard for  the Constitutional  provisions  that   underline   Centre  – State relations. This   must be told to them in    one voice, keeping aside egos and petty political interests.

We trust    Er   Rashid and Shah Faisal won’t    drive  us   to North  Pole   – South  Pole  convergence    in the aftermath of   Assembly   elections.  

(B  L Saraf is the former Principal  District & Sessions Judge)


It is a good omen that young and educated  are  joining  politics. It is natural that old and entrenched political  forces  feel threatened.