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GOWHAR GEELANI | 29 MAY, 2015

Mufti 'Surrenders' Under BJP Pressure?

Did the people of the state vote for this?


SRINAGAR: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has made it crystal clear to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that the saffron party “will leave the government” if it (the coalition government in Jammu & Kashmir) can’t protect India’s interests.

Ram Madhav, General Secretary of the ultra-nationalist party, said that “the government in Jammu and Kashmir is taking all the measures to ensure that pro-Pakistan elements are arrested and marginalised. So this impression that the government there (in Jammu and Kashmir) is soft on pro-Pakistan elements is not based on facts. Masarat Alam is in jail. All the important separatist leaders are under house arrest.”

Madhav, according to the Press Trust of India (PTI), said this while responding to a question from the audience after delivering a talk on ‘Challenges to National Security: Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal, Pakistan to China’ organised by the J&K Study Centre and Pragna Bharath in South Indian city of Hyderabad.

Madhav’s remarks that ‘Masarat Alam is in jail’ and ‘all the important separatist leaders are under house arrest’ are self-explanatory. These remarks burst the PDP’s bubble about the so-called ‘battle of ideas’.

With an apparent aim to send a stern message to the leadership in Kashmir, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh also used strong language in Jammu, saying that “nobody would be allowed to wave Pakistani flags in Kashmir.”

While addressing a gathering at a BJP function in Jammu, Singh hoped that the PDP-BJP coalition government would complete its full six-year term as per the agreed upon Common Minimum Programme (CMP), but warned “if national security is compromised, we will not hesitate to come out of the government.”

This explains the sorry state of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir, where every single decision about who is to be given or denied space, who is to be released, arrested or rearrested, who is to be placed under house arrest or allowed to breathe, etc is decided by the powers that be in New Delhi.

There is a curb on all kinds of political activities in the Kashmir valley and the present government appears to be control-freak by denying space to pro-freedom groups.

Yasin Malik, Chief of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), also highlighted this in his press conference in Srinagar on May 27 when he accused the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed of “choking space for political activities in Kashmir.”

Malik’s party had planned to launch his party’s new campaign Safr-e-Jehd-e-Musalsal’ (Journey of Continuous Struggle) from May 25, but the coalition government did not allow it. The JKLF chief was detained on way to South Kashmir Pulwama district where he had planned to set in motion his people-to-people contact programme.

“Mufti’s battle of ideas fell flat and got punctured when our programme was scuttled by the present dispensation,” he further said.

Ironically, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Kashmir, Khurshid Andrabi told a local English daily, Kashmir Reader, that the varsity “will not lift the existing ban on the Kashmir University Students Union (KUSU).”

“I fail to understand how an educated person like you can ask this question. Our 25 years have gone waste. Do we need to compensate for the loss of those 25 years or make a students’ union…?” the VC told the local daily on the sidelines of a seminar inside the university. According to the said newspaper, the VC also said that there was no need of allowing a Students’ Union in Kashmir University.

Earlier, there was a lot of unnecessary politicking over the matter of issuing or not issuing passport to octogenarian resistance leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Another faction of the Hurriyat Conference led by head-priest Umar Farooq was not allowed to commemorate the death anniversaries of slain Hurriyat leaders Mirwaiz Molvi Farooq and Khawaja Abdul Ghani Lone on May 21.

In the last three months of the PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir, the PDP continues to make huge compromises. Mufti Sayeed’s party abjectly surrendered before the BJP on every single issue from Masarat Alam’s rearrest, Geelani’s passport, giving space to dissent, the so-called battle of ideas and allowing students’ union in the University of Kashmir.

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