Where is the public trust?

Till Kashmir dispute is not solved we are destined to bear with such stink of double speak where not only mind but words too get corrupted.

In its election manifesto for the Lok Sabha (lower house of Indian parliament) elections titled ‘ Mandate for a Mission’, the PDP underlined the purpose for which it sought the vote and trust of the people of Kashmir in sending its representatives to the parliament for the next five years beginning from April 2014: ‘ Our mission in the parliament will be to drive, persuade and convince all the parties to formalize a basic Kashmir policy’. The manifesto promised ‘ to make the parliament a forum for representing the Kashmir issue at the national level’ and stressed ‘ PDP assures to change the national mindset through its interventions in the parliament’. Five years down the memory lane, there is absolutely nothing worthwhile to mention in their performance sheet. It is only indifference written in their account. What the ‘ mission’ in reality served was rape of public trust, piracy of the mandate. A short cut to collect political fortunes. It ultimately turned how skilful they are in corrupting their conscience and turning to be con artists. Two hands to them for standing unbeatable, unmatchable too. In glorifying deception and institutionalizing treachery in politics.

Thanks to the three-part series carried by the GK last week, the people of our state can look into the performance of the elected representatives and see how truthful they are in their commitments and poll pledges. Winning all the three seats from the valley, PDP went to Parliament house in Delhi with three veterans, Muzafer Baig, Mehbooba Mufti and Tariq Karra. The party’s linchpin in the highest forum of Indian democracy, Baig attended just 11 per cent of the sessions. And when he did he remained a mute spectator, hardly participating in debates or seeking information through questions on happenings in Kashmir. In his five year long stint in the parliament, he participated in just three debates and raised only nineteen questions. This is the worst performance of a leader having the stature of being a Supreme Court advocate who the party claimed would use parliament forum for nudging Indians on dialogue and development on Kashmir. Though Tariq Karra and Mehbooba Mufti resigned midway, their performance is similarly shameful. They attended just one third of the proceedings.

Mehbooba and Karra respectively participated in nine and four debates and asked 26 and nineteen questions. As Farooq replaced Karra in 2017, the NC leader preferred to sit and listen. In his 71 attendances, Farooq Abdullah participated in just two debates and asked 13 questions. Against this Jammu and Ladakh MPs outshone Kashmir MPs. BJP won both seats in Jammu and also Ladakh parliamentary seat in 2014 election. Have a look of their performance. Jugal Kishore, Jammu MP, attended 91 percent attendance, took part in 89 debates and raised 273 questions. Thumpson Chewang, Ladakh MP has 89 per cent attendance, 20 debates and 31 questions in his name. Jatindra Singh, as said in the report, being a minister could not be assessed on the basis of this criterion, hence was excluded.

The representatives from Jammu and Ladakh, have in comparison to valley’s MPs, performed remarkably well. The grave situation the valley was reeling under should have made MPs from Kashmir pro-active in initiating/ joining debates and raising questions related to human right violations, pellet blindness, exploitation of state’s resources, return of power projects, release of political prisoners, dreaded enactments like AFSPA and PSA and other plethora of issues related to governance. They should have driven home the point that because of denial of free space and choking of dissent, youth in Kashmir are finding themselves being pushed to the wall. They could have used the august forum to convince Indians that use of force to subdue people is counter-productive as surge in public anger do reveal. Besides it is incompatible to the democratic idea Delhi claims Indian State draws its essence and constitutional moorings from.

This kind of bold and moralistic positioning we do find in their poll manifesto and during election campaign. About PDP’s poll campaign ecstasy we referred above, just a flavor from Farooq Abdullah’s election histrionics. Remember when he urged Hurriyat, ‘ qadam badawo, ham tumaray saat heyn’ ( Ye Hurriyat people, keep going, we are with you). But not even for once NC or PDP representatives opened their mouth on plight of Huryat leaders suffering in jails outside state, let alone calling for ‘peaceful resolution of Kashmir dispute and holding talks with Huryat and Pakistan’. Once they get the mandate—their naive voters think they will plead Kashmir and Kashmiris in parliament– they forget everything. They turn approver against their own. What they venerated yesterday, they show no qualms to molest it today. They disown everything they swore by. A furious addiction takes hold of them. That makes them see parliament more a frolicking beach to soothe nerves and do snoring, less a powerful institution of law making . An institution that they look for self rehabilitation and career building. Nothing else.

That they go in long stupor in parliament, or virtually abstain from its proceedings is not because they are ignorant of the power of the House, it is because they are afraid of ‘angry spot on Caesar’s brow’ (Shakespeare). As Muzagar Baig has admitted some years before, the parties that represent Delhi in Kashmir have to ‘drink this hemlock again and again’. They are in the bind and have to run over their election promises. Till Kashmir dispute is not solved we are destined to bear with such stink of double speak where not only mind but words too get corrupted.