Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is an active, veteran politician, one who has made many moves, until 1987 he was the member of Congress, then he moved to the Jan Morcha led by V P Singh and became India’s first Muslim Home Minister, reverted to Congress again and finally formed a new group, the J&K People’s Democratic Party in 1999 with an aim to convince the central government, by any possible manner, to initiate dialogue with Kashmiris for resolution of Kashmir’s issue. As far as politics is concerned, and that too when it comes to managing the sentiments in the valley, the present J&K Chief Minister carries more experience than Amit Shah who joined BJP in 1986 and even Narendra Modi who became a BJPian in 1987. I am referring to these years in history to make people realize that handling the PDP coalition in the state of J&K is not that easy task for the BJP, in a situation when PDP’s support comes from the valley and BJP’s comes from Jammu. And to justify the backing from Kashmir, Sayeed has so far done what he was expected to, praising Pakistan, separatists and even terrorist outfits in his swearing-in, release of separatist leader and the mastermind in the killings of hundreds of people, Masarat Alam, and a probable relief to Ashiq Hussain Faktoo, a former top-ranking commander of Jamiat-ul-Mujahideen.
Many would recall the 1989 kidnapping of Rubaiya Sayeed, daughter of Mufti Sayeed, which led to releasing of five comrades of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, a militant outfit by the government. Experts then commented that the kidnapping and subsequent release of terrorists set the stage for heightened militancy in the state, terming the same as ‘blunder’. In a newspaper interview while being the CM of the state, Mufti Sayeed admitted to have reacted to the incident in the capacity of a father rather than the Home Minister of India. Admit it, a soft approach towards militants and separatists is the key to being a popular politician in the valley, something that the BJP, and at time when they are the in-charge of national security, cannot allow. The Intelligence Bureau has predicted hike in the number of violent incidents and insurgency post the release of Masarat Alam, an act that has only stimulated those who advocate Kashmir’s separation from India. Such small but vital mistakes by governments results in killings of innocents at the border, needless harm to armed forces and unrest in the entire country. While on one side the PM is planning to make Varanasi a handloom hub, the milieu in J&K is slowly but surely turning anti-national, making the valley again a hub of severe extremism and ferocity. Even if the BJP, the ally of PDP in the state government, disremembers the ideology it carries, they still cannot overlook the fact that it was Modi’s assurances in 2014 with respect to tough approach towards Pakistan and anti-national elements that led to their decisive victory; hence India’s security undeniably rests on their shoulders.
Believe it, it was not just the development agenda of the BJP and Congress’ failure at this front that helped BJP take 282 seats in its kitty in 2014, the approach of political parties like the Congress, SP, BSP towards vulnerable national security and position of Hindus was a prominent factor too. 73 seats to the BJP and its ally in UP was not just a result of voters’ shift to Modi and Amit Shah for want of development, the ideology of the party, which seeks justice for all castes and communities, be it the minority or the Hindus, was substantially the cause. I can still remember messages on social media depicting Modi as a savior of India’s dominance and dignity from the attacks of China and Pakistan. In case this image gets faded out, I am worried about BJP’s performance in the upcoming polls in Bihar, Bengal and more significantly UP. The RSS had an 8-hour meet with Amit Shah on Friday not just to discuss tensions in the BJP-PDP alliance in J&K, but probably to make the senior wing of BJP realize that they carry the liability of national security and also the assurance they gave against extremism, in the wake of which Sayeed’s controversial statements, PDP’s demand for Afzal Guru’s ashes and freeing of separatist leader are strictly an anti-BJP and anti-India stand.
The RSS has already penned its anxiety in the mouthpiece ‘Organizer’ by asking BJP to confirm whether Mufti Sayeed is truly an Indian by heart, since his endeavors post taking oath as CM are pro-extremism and pro-Pakistan. Shiv Sena and even the youth wing of the Indian National Congress have protested against the release of Alam, such happenings are deteriorating BJP’s stance as well as will. The Home Ministry may have asked for a justification now from the J&K CM, the report may be filed in a few days but let me warn you, the damage has already been done. How could a separatist held by the police, of whichever state, be released when he was accused of severe plotting of anti-national measures, the criminal incident that resulted in killings of above hundreds of people and the central government, the Home Ministry, other departments in-charge of nation’s safekeeping just seek a report of justification? The BJP-PDP coalition in the J&K may have some bindings on the conduct of BJP MLAs there, but the government at the center should never have such thresholds, it is responsible for national peace and none of the state governments can surpass this liability, and if done, such acts are to be revoked immediately.
Experts, opposition parties, voters and all other stakeholders do understand that politics is a tough affair and coalition governments suffer even more. The words of J&K CM may not be rescinded, but of course, his ill actions that are posing threat to national security and BJP’s core agenda of fighting extremism and extending equal privileges to Hindus as well as minority are to be curbed. Past voters of BJP and the probable ones who are looking forward to a BJP-led state government in Bihar, Bengal and UP expect this political party to be different than others who have relied on appeasement and even sanctioning of anti-India deeds to get hold of power. Lastly, the BJP is to recall that they promised ‘to initiate the process of “just and honorable” re-settlement of the displaced members of the Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir with security and dignity’, a deed that will not be possible unless the state is freed from separatists’ ideology and terror attacks on Hindus. Though politics is a tough task, Indians’ trust rests upon you; BJP therefore should not leave any stone unturned in this process.
Ending the coalition with the PDP may seem to be the sole corrective action in sight of such happenings in J&K. But what worries me and many of us is that the BJP recorded victory in the 2014 legislative polls only in constituencies of Jammu, Kashmir did not allow the party to celebrate even a bit. Going with such facts, the BJP is in a delicate position where end of alliance would mean end to BJP’s hope to run the state, though partially and implement the development agenda it promised. I agree that separation from PDP should be an option to consider, but after BJP’s national leaders having used all the powers bestowed upon the center to stop states from undertaking anti-national measures. This is quite possible since J&K is funded heavily by the center; the home ministry has an upper hand. All in all, BJP’s image of being pro-India and anti-terror is to be prevented from any detriments.