Before starting to decode the issue at hand, there is a fun fact which describes Kashmir in a conspicuous manner i.e. a militant namely Majid Dar befriended a BSF sub-inspector and they became good friends. That militant gave the BSF guy a tip about some militant hide-out and as the subsequent part of quid pro quo, the BSF official helped him cross LOC to reach Pakistan. Both Majid Dar and the BSF officer betrayed their duties and their respective stances but in pursuit of what? Therefore the words of Brajesh Mishra hold some water when he says, “There is nothing straight in Kashmir except poplar trees”.
In his book “Kashmir; The Vajpayee years”; AS Dulat writes while being IB chief of Kashmir group, his primary job was to keep Farooq Abdullah in good mood. Irony, not!
New Delhi has never been clear over Kashmir more than the integral part scheme. Yes, Kashmir is an integral part of India but paralysed one; the people are yet to be made part of India. And if we are to zero in on one reason behind this perpetual alienation, it is the confused leadership which specialises in subterfuge, Kashmir has received till date. Imagine Sheikh Abdullah was the one who started from Muslim Conference, then justified the accession to India and then suddenly developed a soft spot for our intrusive neighbour; so many a lot of change of heart. At one time when Sheikh was addressing the State Constituent Assembly; he has said the Constituent Assembly would decide whether to accede to India or to Pakistan or to seek independence. The state assembly under his leadership had adopted a constitution which in it section 3 said, “The state of Jammu & Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the union of India”. And then when Sheikh Abdullah & Co. were discussing modalities of Indira-Sheikh accord and Sheikh Abdullah sends his son Farooq Abdullah to Pakistan to seek permission to sign the pact.
When New Delhi was investing so very much in search of a democratic substitute of Abdullahs in Shabir Shah, he developed a cold feet just to appease ISI. When people showed up and looked forward to him as the saviour to take them out of the swampy politics of Kashmir, he started yearning for a Nobel Peace Prize and opening his shops in South Delhi. Narasimha Rao romanced Shabir Shah, Atal ji had likings for Yaseen Malik and Dr. Manmohan Singh had some likings for Mirwaiz Umar Farooq but got more inclined to status quo later. Hence the shambles! It can be easily inferred that New Delhi never had a consistent policy for Kashmir. And who enjoys a massacre, vultures do. And Jammu & Kashmir has been in the hands of vultures since who have been doing every possible things to quench their thirst of power, mulcting the passiveness of New Delhi at the cost of lives of some poor and innocent people. Kashmir needed something pioneering to get out the inertia of bloodshed.
Since accession of Jammu & Kashmir to India on 26th October 1947, if something concrete has taken place in this part of India, it took place on 5th August, 2019. In the morning of 5th August last year, something which was yearned and eulogised since long by the people of India and condemned by Pakistan and Kashmiri separatists finally happened. Although it was too nasty a blow for Kashmir based jihadi political parties but thankfully they were not allowed to spew much of venom. Flamboyant Farooq was allowed to address press and then because of his theatrics to intensify and provoke the situation and get it tense, he too was contained. Subsequently a lot of media houses started ranting about the detention of Farooq Abdullah, his son & daughter of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed which makes it three former Chief Ministers and scores of former ministers.
Nobody would have had anticipated Kashmir would receive the detention of the so-called leaders of Kashmir so very well. I was in Kashmir in the week of republic day celebrations; I was in Kashmir university for some time and had an opportunity to meet some students as well. Their reaction seemed overwhelming with different stances but one issue on which all of them were convinced was the fact that the detained politicos need not be released at any cost in near future or the situation will worsen. The sentiments of those students were so very sharp to make very brutal statements such as; the freedom of movement of these scoundrels need to be curtailed, their eloquence should be restricted, let them all rot in the posh hotel suites, they are staying and we are even ready to pay for their luxuries in the hotel turned jails for their life. Look at the frustration of the Kashmiri youth!
Just when the things seemed moving with some seriousness, something which Jammu & Kashmir hasn’t seen much, the contrary happened. I must say bluntly Altaf Bukhari is nothing but Gul Mohammad Shah 3.0 or Mufti Sayeed 2.0. As Gul Mohammad Shah had the backings of Indira Gandhi, he bought most of the legislators to topple Farooq Abdullah and become Chief Minister. Similarly Mufti Sayeed became Chief Minister even after being third in the tally of seats; only qualification he was possessing was a desperate nod from Antonio Maino i.e. Sonia Gandhi. Both of them failed New Delhi badly & Kashmir miserably. As alleged Jammu & Kashmir Apni Party is also a centre backed political outfit which is filled upto brim with corrupt habitual turncoats. The members of this fresh outfit are already emitting a stench of power hunger and this quest of theirs has its origin in a desperate attempt to keep their corrupt past under the carpet as they fear a fresh and fair government could possibly bring their wrongdoings and corrupt practices to public domain and maybe penal scrutiny could follow as well. How come New Delhi finds them capable of mainstreaming the common Kashmiris? I am surprised! As much I could analyse, Jammu & Kashmir Apni Party is nothing but a forlorn hope for all those pinning hopes with Mr. Bukhari and his party.
After 5th August, last year many things have changed; this union government has settled all the ambiguities with respect to relation of J&K with rest of India. The rants of secession from India, autonomy, self rule and all other mediums of separatism or I can say mediums of Pakistan Prem have been put to rest. Basically all the principles with which all these regional political parties were formed are redundant and obsolete now. Either they have to reframe their policies and objectives or they will find themselves irrelevant in near future. Kashmir, if she wants to find some stability should find some young guys who believe in carpe diem and then Kashmir should bless them with their confidence and shun these Gupkar Goons, Hyderpora thugs & Maisuma morons.
Shah Faisal could have had been a better buy for Kashmir but he fell in wrong hands and hence wasted for now. Kashmir needs to figure this out and fortunately they have ample time for that. Almost 3 years to go into elections, Kashmir needs to finds guys who are serious about Kashmir and specifically not those who gets their order from across the border. It is not only because India has some unsettled accounts with Pakistan but because Pakistan never wants a stable and peaceful Kashmir, it is against their interests.
And see the chronology of events; before signing Indira-Sheikh accord, Sheikh Abdullah sent his son Farooq Abdullah to Pakistan to get the requisite instructions, Farooq Abdullah sent Omar Abdullah to meet Parvez Musharraf before 2008 elections, Mufti Sayeed thanked Pakistan for free and fair 2014 J&K assembly elections. Whatever they would do, a nod from Islamabad is sine qua non for them. Kashmir needs to be clear over the fact whether they want their destiny to be decided from Anantnag or Islamabad, Kupwara or Karachi, Sopore or Lahore.
It is high time for New Delhi as well to reconsider whether to stand by these rogues or let the real leadership grow in Kashmir. It is high time for New Delhi to make arrangements for societal integration of Kashmir with India after we are done with constitutional integration of Kashmir, but it should be per fas and not per nefas. New Delhi has been committing the same mistake again and again with a hope of change in results. Believe me if you will change nothing, nothing will change, to perpetuate the error is no virtue but to correct should be your endeavour and even the political conscience calls for that. We do long for the halcyon days!
(The author is an advocate & a legal & political analyst)