Omar’s frog-leaping on AFSPA



The hunter has given up the chase, momentarily, as the prey has sensed the looming danger. But has not given in. He is waiting for the kill next time. And, mulling strategy. Of deception. And sheathing in lambs clothing. He hasn’t yet got satiated his hunger. Beware!
 Following severe criticism from all shades of opinion in Kashmir and pro-resistance camp and Kashmir Bar Association threatening of mass agitation, Omar Abdullah-led coalition government has, at the moment, taken its hands (nay grasping claws) back from the necks of hapless people of Kashmir.
With New Delhi, army and state congress strongly opposing Omar Abdullah on his “endeavor” of revoking Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), the latter instead of putting a brave face and taking a simple administrative action, ignomiously caved in. He could have, as is well argued by the legal fraternity, taken the simple route: Denotified the Disturbed Areas Act (DAA) – which, as we know, acts as a launching pad for bringing in any area under the dreadful jaws of AFSPA. That simple innocuous step would have paved the way for withdrawal of the draconian law. True the last word in this case rested with Governor but as are clear the provisions of J and k constitution governor is bound to act on the advice of state cabinet. Omar didn’t do his government was competent to. As his past one-month leap-froging on the AFSPA revocation drama does reflect he was only playing vote-bank politics. The macho-posturing and sabre-rattling was aimed only for domestic consumption and to earn Brownie points against his political rival, PDP. His plummeting down from, what he bragged, ‘No option (from army) he won’t listen from’, seemingly tough position, to the same old butler (Khansama’n) employee of the Indian Establishment, exposes him, his party NC and the government he heads.
            Action speaks intention and sincerity. To have his ‘more loyal than the king’ image sustainable – even enhance his allegiance value – in the eyes of Delhi rulers, Omar embarked on a potentially dangerous course which could have far-reaching worst implications in store for the people of Kashmir. Omar’s approach to address the pain and woes AFSPA inflicted on people was akin to that of a doctor who to cure kidney stones displayed his “messianic” behavior in trading in kidneys of his patient. People of Kashmir and political parties across the ideological and political divide are unanimous in their demand of demilitarizing Kashmir and first step for that is revocation of AFSPA. Fully aware of the sensibilities and sensitivities of the people on the AFSPA, NC incorporated pledge of removal of the dreaded law in its party manifesto and promised removal of AFSPA and release of political prisoners sooner it assumes power. It is more than three years of its rule the promise is yet to be fulfilled. And worst Omar dispensation tried to baptize state Cr PC to the black AFSPA. Omar’s proposal to amend state’s Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) and Criminal Procedure Code {Cr PC} to incorporate the provisions of the AFSPA is akin to provide, what I should say, “state subject” legal attire to the dreaded law and give it a permanent “residence”.
            AFSPA – that inhuman law which accords impunity to the armed forces from legal accountability – has to go, if not today, tomorrow surely. India is under tremendous pressure from the civil society and human rights groups world over. Its stay is a question mark on Indian democracy. But when you incorporate it in RPC and Cr PC it implies it earns legal sanctity and permanent nature. Omar is a fantastic man. An acrobatic. Where Sangh parivar missed to hook Kashmiris, he showed them way. Well done, Omar Sahab, well done!