Mufti Muhammad Sayeed was sitting in his office when a certain individual entered. The excitement and the smile on the man's face showed that he was very confident that the news he was about to break will please the Chief Minister no end. The man tried hard to suppress his smile and broke the news – National Conference leader, Omar Abdullah had escaped an attack in Anantnag, where he had gone to pay respect to a National Conference leader, slain by the militants. The man who broke this news did not know Mufti that well it would seem, the reaction he got from the Chief Minister was far from what he had expected. The Mufti was shocked and took his time to comprehend things and remarked as to how the 'young' Omar Abdullah was important in the political landscape of the valley for ensuring that democracy thrives, for seeing to it that the mainstream political parties remain relevant and occupy any space that the Government of the day may end-up conceding. The Mufti may have had a hearty laugh about the whole thing (as the man who broke the news seemed to have expected), however, his reaction to the whole episode is a lesson, if one may find time to delve into it. To reach that level where you see the relevance of a political adversary and wish him well to secure the larger good and peace is phenomenal.
The lesson that I draw out of the above-mentioned incident is the importance of a 'relevant opposition' in a place like Kashmir. The 'Opposition' has a huge responsibility to be able to fill any vacuum that may present itself. The political scenario in the valley often presents the opposition parties with immense responsibilities, where-in they must surrender their petty political interests and start working towards ensuring (in the least) a peaceful environment. An 'Opposition' on a 'tweeting spree' hardly helps matters. All we hear from the Opposition (on twitter of course) is that Mehbooba Mufti is sticking to her chair, that she has aligned with a party driven by Hindutva ideology and how the current situation is being mishandled. All these tweets may make for fine 'election campaign speeches', but are they 'responsible' in nature? People are out on the streets, the most unfortunate civilian causalities have taken place, political workers are being targeted, we have had a farce of a Parliament election – are these matters of joy as an opposition? Is the role of the opposition only to add fuel to the fire? Do they see the situation only as an opportunity to rattle the cage? Is that what we call 'leadership'?
The allegations made by the 'Opposition', given the timing, are most unfortunate and have no feet either. They find faults with the PDP having aligned with the BJP. The alliance has been formed on the basis of a very carefully drafted 'Agenda of Alliance' (if the terms of the document will be taken to their logical conclusion is a matter that time will decide) while the Opposition leader chose to remain in the Union Council of Ministers when the Godhra riots took place (the primary reason why the Modi wave cannot penetrate beyond the Jawahar tunnel). To tell the people that allying with the BJP is some sin when you were very much a part of them when the Godhra riots took place is beyond comprehension. You may tell the people all you want, but for God's sake have some sense of responsibility and respect for the situation in the valley. Did we not lose lives in 2010? Did the same unfortunate circumstances not present themselves then? Who benefitted from the 1987 elections? One may fish in muddy waters as much as one may want, but the least that Kashmir wants for now is a responsible opposition, an opposition which douses the fire, to add fuel to it is not 'leadership'.
(The author is an advocate at the Supreme Court of India)