Political faux pas committed by politicians in an unguarded moment bring forth the ugly truths, states may hide. Truth may be suppressed over a period of time, not for ever. ‘K’ resistance forces may be of various hues, organized in various political formations. It may exist as an independent expression framed by civil service groups holding an opinion, with no political axe to grind.
Whatever the form of resistance vis-à-vis ‘K’ issue, the narrative holds that the Delhi’s word hardly if ever matches its deed. What Fotedar said vindicates ‘K’ resistance narrative, implying a deficit in word and deed of Indian nation state in her dealings with Jammu and Kashmir. Resistance may not be organized or strong enough to enforce the needed change, implying peaceful resolution of ‘K’ issue, however the very fact that it exists ensures that India continues to bat in Jammu & Kashmir on a sticky wicket. Hence it hardly has, if ever an easy surface to bat on. based on politically matching narratives, a relationship based on truth, nothing but truth exudes.Only forces of history may dictate how long this uncomfortable state of affairs will continue. A state of affairs where neither is the Indian state comfortably placed, nor people of Jammu & Kashmir. The people though uncomfortable ensure that India does not enjoy the warmth that relationship Unfortunate as it is, truth is a major casualty in the relationship that has been rocky. In an unguarded moment ‘TRUTH’ did emerge, of all the persons from an old political operative, a son of the soil, who has nevertheless opted to oppose and work against the predominant sentiment of the people of Jammu & Kashmir.
At the outset, we may take Fotedar on elections in Jammu & Kashmir. The resistance has always doubted the fairness of polls, hence the question mark on legislative measures undertaken, including ratification of accession. On being asked whether he supports PDP’s self-rule proposal, Fotedar said J&K is already witnessing self-rule. “Government is being elected by people. Same government rules them. This is self-rule,” he said. Taken, however in the same sitting, he blames NC President Farooq Abdullah for rigging 1987 elections which led to the defeat of Muslim United Front (MUF). “Farooq nay 1987 main kya kuch nahi kiya,” Fotedar reportedly said. Implying that Farooq left nothing undone in rigging polls, the ‘TRUTH’ emerges in clear terms. Many in resistance ranks concede India being a democracy, albeit beyond Lakhanpur—exit point of Jammu & Kashmir. The measured doses of democracy dictated by situational exigencies remain the fate of Jammu and Kashmir. There are well meaning Indians who rue alienation seen in Jammu & Kashmir, comment on it, write volumes on it, yet fail to educate the Indian masses on the democratic deficit—the hallmark of Jammu & Kashmir polity.
Fotedar branded Delhi measures taken from time to time as damage control exercises, ratifying resistance narrative. Take P Chidambaram’s “unique issue that needed a unique solution” statement as Home Minister and appointment of interlocutors in 2010 that too implied Fotedar was a “damage control exercise.” Fotedar was quoted as saying that, “The government here was not able to control the situation, that’s why such moves were taken”. Damage control implies a measure taken to meet an exigency, hence a measure that hardly constitutes well thought out state policy move with long term implication. Some in resistance ranks were tempted to believe that Chidambaram’s statement implies acceptance of ‘Dispute’ Syed Ali Geelani’s pre-condition for initiating a dialogue. Not so, it emerges that the statement was a damage control measure. Geelani did not take the bait, hence continues to be a called a hardliner. Fotedar calling it damage control vindicates Geelani’s stand.
Fotedar was reportedly asked if Kashmir was not an issue, why did the Prime Minister (implying Manmohan Singh) form Working Groups (WG’s) and why the then Prime Minister P V Narshima Rao made an announcement that “sky is the limit,”. Fotedar’s reply implied that WG’s were formed to streamline development and Centre’s financial assistance in J&K.
“There was no clue of the funds released by the Centre and that’s why WGs were formed. As far ‘sky is the limit’ statement made by Narshima Rao that was in context of development, not Kashmir resolution,” Fotedar claimed. On both counts he is wrong. PV Narshima Rao’s statement implied that short of Azadi sky is the limit. Farooq Abdullah being a soft target in political terms grasped it with both hands to emerge out of political hibernation. In an act of made up bravado he had the re-constituted assembly in suspended animation for long pass an ‘Autonomy’ resolution, implying return to 1953 constitutional status. It was rejected with contempt, Farooq had to pocket the slight, as he is prone to and continue to remain glued to chair. Vis-à-vis WG’s there are unending reports of Justice Sagir panel on autonomy. That too might be a part of damage control measures taken to provide a sweetener that GoI is prone to supply from time to time to change the taste of bitter medicine prescribed to merely and barely manage Jammu & Kashmir.
Vis-à-vis 1975 accord that formed the major Fotedar discourse less said the better. What did Mirza Afzal Beg say to Fotedar, what did Fotedar do, how did Indira Gandhi or Sheikh Abdullah react to Beg—Parthasarthy conclusions matters the least, given the political context Jammu and Kashmir is placed in. It was in its essence a return to power after a resistance phase of 22 years termed ‘political wilderness’ (Siyasi Awara Ghardi). Fotedar would do well to note and study political outfall of what has been termed ‘Accord’. The discord inherent in the so called ‘Accord’ should be clear to any analyst, any student of politics. Within years the resistance was back with renewed vigour. It did turn violent, however that could be attributed to squeeze of democratic space for forces of resistance. Violence cannot simply be wished away, keeping it out of political realm entails a level playing field for fielding diverse political narratives and taking measures to evolve a peaceful resolution of ‘K’ issue with the seriousness it demands. ‘Damage Control Measures’ Fotedar and his political Gurus would do well to remember, do not stand the test of times. The continuing resistance in Jammu & Kashmir is proof enough, if one is indeed needed that they don’t work, viable alternatives need to be worked out, sooner than later.
Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi [Reunion is subordinate to survival]
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