If the designs of BJP leaders to form a Government succeeds and Governor’s rule ends, it would be a great folly, leading to the situation in Valley that reaches a point of no return.
Many BJP ruled States have made attempts to re-write history by revising text books in schools. They rubbish heroes like Mughal Emperor Akbar and instead glorify Rana Pratap and suggest that he won the battle of Haldighati, forgetting that in Haldighati Raja Man Singh, a general of Mughal Army, had defeated Rana Pratap. The Jammu and Kashmir unit of BJP is going ahead to set up the Dogra rule in Jammu and Kashmir instead of re-writing history books alone.
They are trying to achieve this by persuading a section of PDP members to leave the parent party and support BJP. They hope to get a majority to come to power and overcome the legal hurdles posed by the tough anti-Defection law of Jammu & Kashmir with the help of Speaker of the Assembly who belongs to BJP. This will also be rewriting history as Congress had done this to its ally National Conference by creating a rift within National Conference with the help of brother-in-law of Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, G.M Shah.
The experiment did not work and in the elections that followed, the stock of Government of India took a hit and the process of winning the confidence of people of Kashmir was eroded. In case BJP repeats the trick, the alienation in Kashmir, which is high, will rise further. The PDP has suffered a loss by linking up with BJP, but in case BJP forms a Government with the help of PDP rebels, the alenation of people of Kashmir will become total and very few will be left to carry the national flag or support national parties.
In the last few years the only groups which have been active in Kashmir are paramilitary forces and militants. While political parties were in hiding and houses of leaders of PDP and National Conference were being stoned. If the designs of BJP leaders to form a Government succeeds and Governor’s rule ends, it would be a great folly, leading to the situation in Valley that reaches a point of no return.
Everybody agreed that the present situations is not congenial for holding elections and the present composition of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly makes it almost impossible to have a popular Government. The best course would be to continue with Governor’s rule till some kind of normalcy is restored. It is unfortunate that with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in command, BJP gained acceptability in Kashmir and with Narendra Modi as Prime Minister, alienation of Kashmiri people has taken place on a large scale.
Let us understand that Kashmir became a part of India because popular forces were supported by India while Pakistan decided to use force by sending across irregulars to the State to occupy it by force. We should avoid a situation in which force remains as the only option as our desire is not only to hold territory but win minds and hearts of the people of Kashmir. The present Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. N.N. Vohra, a veteran, is the right person to deal with the present situation and prepare the State for elections which could be credible.
Any attempt to find a short term solution by installing a BJP Government in the only Muslim majority state in India will not work. Kashmir is one issue on which we need a national policy and national parties should avoid working for the interest of one party only. Getting half a dozen members from Jammu and Kashmir in Lok Sabha will not make any difference, particularly if the number of voters using ballot in Kashmir is not credible. It is no secret that PDP-BJP coalition Government was unable to hold elections for seats in the Valley which were vacant.
Our neighbour Pakistan has divided its own nation as it tried to use force to crush the East wing leading to the creation of a new nation, Bangladesh. In the Western wing also Baloch and Pakhtoons arpe on the war path. India which has a democratic set up, should allow people in all regions, irrespective of religion and region, to exercise their democratic rights.
(Brij Bhardwaj is a veteran journalist and commentator)