NC, PDP seeking mandate for nation’s disintegration
by Hari Om on 07 Nov 2014 0 Comment

On October 29, police raided the residences and offices of all the main separatist leaders across the Kashmir Valley and arrested them, barring Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. Syed Ali Shah Geelani was already under house arrest. It was a major and meticulously conducted operation against traitors, mercenaries, rabble-rousers and Pakistani agents who had unleashed a no-holds-barred propaganda blitz calculated to motivate the people of Kashmir to hold themselves aloof from the ongoing election process, commenced on October 23 with the announcement of  poll schedule for J&K and Jharkhand. The operation didn’t evoke any adverse reaction from anywhere in the Valley. Only a handful of supporters of Yasin Malik came on the street in Maisuma locality of Srinagar to protest the arrests, but were dispersed by the alert and determined police in no time. That’s all.


“Nobody will be allowed to disrupt the poll process,” Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Abdul Ghani Mir, said while commenting on the operation, adding that “preventive action is being taken and very strong action will be taken against those elements trying to intimidate people”. Those arrested for poll boycott would reportedly “remain in the police lockup till the elections are over” on December 23.    


That everything went off peacefully and there was hardly a ripple of recognisable protest anywhere in Kashmir vindicated those who had all along held the view that these merchants of death and destruction don’t enjoy any popular support. The general view, which is a correct view, is that the discredited separatists spew malice and misinformation, organise anti-India events and survive and thrive on the blood and sweat of common Kashmiri people only because there exists a “dangerous nexus” between them and certain “undesirable” elements in the establishment who want to keep the Kashmir pot boiling for monetary gains, fleecing the Indian nation and satisfying their sectarian urges. The fact is that the likes of SAS Geelani were, and are, no factor in Kashmir’s political situation and can be tackled with utmost ease, as became evident from the October 29 successful police operation.   


The real problem in Kashmir is the so-called mainstream political leadership, which exploits its official position to vitiate the Valley’s environment for political gains. It is this brand of leaders who masquerade as secularists and democrats, crisscross the Valley at regular intervals to hoodwink, mislead and incite Kashmiri people against India, arouse sectarian passions and appeal to and excite individual hopes. They become more active during election time. This is a statement of fact and can be easily verified; there is no need to peep into the past electoral history of Kashmir. A casual look at the developments which unfolded in Kashmir on and after October 27, 2014 is enough to understand the nature of “mainstream” Kashmiri leadership and its ideology and election-winning strategy.


Take for example the ruling National Conference (NC) and its arch-political rival People’s Democratic Party (PDP). They have made public their poll planks for the assembly elections in the state, beginning on November 25. Self-rule, greater internal autonomy and resolution of the so-called Kashmir dispute and not issues of governance and development would be the cornerstones of the election campaign of these fundamentally sub-regional Kashmiri parties.


Patron of PDP and chief ministerial candidate Mufti Mohammad Sayeed explained the significance of these elections on October 27, the day Geelani and his ilk had called for Kashmir shutdown to register protest against the presence of the Indian Army in the Valley. The Indian Army landed in Kashmir a day after the State’s accession to India to clear the Indian soil of the Pakistani invaders and retrieve the illegally-occupied territories. It is a different story that the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru at the behest of his friend and votary of Switzerland-type independent Kashmir, NC president Sheikh Abdullah, enforced ceasefire at a time when the India Army had the Pakistani regulars and irregular on their run.  


Seeking the people’s mandate, Mufti Sayeed said that the upcoming assembly elections offer a “historic opportunity” to the people to assert their identity, political rights and constitutional distinction between Kashmir and New Delhi and that a fractured mandate in Kashmir would harm the cause. The “implications of the upcoming elections are beyond government formation and the results would be crucial to safeguarding interests of the state, resolution of Kashmir problem and securing the rights of J&K…The fragmentation of votes had in the last elections resulted in the formation of a government which neither had any political agenda nor a commitment towards the people,” he said while addressing a party workers’ convention in Sonawar assembly constituency in Srinagar.


The fact that he chose October 27 [Accession Day] for making public his poll plank speaks for itself and establishes that the PDP is seeking the people’s mandate not for providing good governance but for promoting the party’s sinister hate and break-India agenda. It is pertinent to mention here that the PDP, like the separatist leadership and the NC, has been demanding withdrawal of the Army from Kashmir ever since its formation in 1999, saying reduction of the Army’s footprint is imperative to provide “breathing space to the alienated” Kashmiri people.  


As if all this was not enough to vitiate the political atmosphere in Kashmir, chairman of the NC’s manifesto committee and sitting member of the Rajya Sabha, Muhammad Shafi Uri, and party general secretary and minister in the Omar Abdullah-led coalition government Ali Mohammad Sagar, also took the plunge the following day and announced their party’s poll planks. They said the NC has resolved to make Article 370 and restoration of full internal autonomy as the main poll planks.  The NC is committed to demanding restoration of autonomy for amicable settlement of the Kashmir issue and restoring of Article 370 to its original position, they asserted.  “It is not possible to avoid political (read sectarian) aspect of the Kashmir problem,” they said.


It was manifestly clear from the statements of the PDP and NC leaders that both parties seek the people’s mandate for agendas which are fundamentally the same. Both, like separatists of all hues, want wholesale withdrawal of the central laws and institutions from the State which were extended after August 9, 1953 and favour limited accession with India; both stand for withdrawal of the Army and revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) under which the Armed forces involved in anti-insurgency operations enjoy legal immunity; and both consider J&K an unsettled issue as also a “bridge” between India and Pakistan.


The fact of the matter is that the PDP’s self-rule doctrine is no different from the NC’s autonomy lynch-pin. The only difference between the two is that while the NC wants New Delhi to restrict its jurisdiction over the State to foreign affairs, communications, defence of the border and to meet all financial needs of Kashmir and the Kashmiri people, the PDP not only endorses this stand of the NC but in addition wants New Delhi to share its sovereign power with Pakistan in this side of J&K. The fact is that both the NC and the PDP have upped their ante against the Indian Constitution in their desperate bid to garner votes in the Kashmir Valley, which elects 46 members to the 87-member Legislative Assembly. The NC and the PDP have little presence both in Jammu province and the trans-Himalayan Ladakh region and hence, their focus on Muslim Kashmir.


If we really wish to tackle the problem in Kashmir, we have no option but to tackle the NC and PDP on a priority basis; they are the main culprits.  


PS: What about the Congress? Its election-winning strategy is no different from that of the NC and the PDP. And it was none other than Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad who on October 29 said at the Banihal (Jammu) meeting of party workers: “the voice that will rise” from the erstwhile Doda district will “become the voice of the people of the state”. He described this area as Chenab Valley, notwithstanding the fact that there existed no such Valley anywhere in Jammu province. The number of Muslims in this area is slightly more as compared with non-Muslims. Their proportion is 55:45, but Mr Azad believes that his appeal would motivate Muslims to vote the Congress party en bloc. In other words, there is no fundamental different between his approach and the approach of the NC and the PDP. 

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