Why Mehbooba Challenges New Delhi?

Why Mehbooba Challenges New Delhi?

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Asem Mohiuddin            New Delhi

Nearly a month after the demise of PDP-BJP alliance, the former Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti launched an unravelling attack on New Delhi and threatened the renewed militancy in border region if the latter made any attempt to break her Peoples Democratic Party. Mehbooba made her remarks after paying obeisance at the martyr’s graveyard on July 13.

She and her party is going through a terribly rough weather ever since BJP broke its alliance with the party in Jammu and Kashmir and declared her “incompetent” chief minister to deliver.  As many as six PDP leaders have been accusing party of nepotism, favouritism and furthering the family rule in the party.

The PDP youth leader and former media analyst to Mehbooba Mufti, Tahir Sayeed, however, said that her intentions were not of threatening the fresh phase of militancy in Kashmir.

“In fact she reminded New Delhi of past mistakes they committed in Kashmir that resulted into three decades of insurgency after people losing the faith in the democracy of India,” he said.

He claims that PDP set the pro democratic narrative in Kashmir notwithstanding the challenges it faced.

“I believe she was taken out of context and we need to see her statement that New Delhi must let democracy to flourish in Kashmir. We are not against anybody becoming the chief minister of state. But he/ she shall come through the legitimate process of facing people and not by the way of breaking political parties that will erode the faith of public in democracy.”  

While the PDP has completely been finding itself on the back foot and no hope seeing apparently to get party’s internal issues addressed, the statement of Mehbooba cannot be taken into lighter vein.

Mehooaba has been former chief Minister of a troubled state which is going through the three decades of insurgency. The trust deficit ongoing between the Delhi and the people of Kashmir can only be widened if a person like Mehbooba Mufti levels such gross allegations against New Delhi.

The common perception in Kashmir is that the political show in the state is run by New Delhi. This perception is prevalent despite the elections in Kashmir witnessing substantial participation of people in electoral process and electing their own leaders democratically. The region has been in cross roads with the union of India since last 70 years when the conflict was born.

However, one of the major blots the democracy that flourished across India received in Kashmir in 1987 when Congress backed the National Conference and crushed the mandate of majority of people for Muslim United Front and with force declared defeated NC as its wining party. Thus, the year set the beginning of insurgency in Kashmir and the political upheaval continues to consume its lives till now.

Although there have been no or very few takers for Mehbooba’s statement, the first she was retorted by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who said that no one will become militant if New Delhi engineers split in their party.

“She must really be desperate if she is threatening the centre with renewed militancy if PDP breaks up. She seems to have forgotten that militancy in Kashmir has already been reborn under her most able administration,” Omar Tweeted.

 He further said in another tweet: “Let me put this out here for all to remember NOT ONE NEW MILITANT WILL BE CREATED WITH THE BREAK UP OF THE PDP. People will not mourn the demise of a party created in Delhi only to divide the votes of Kashmiris.”(sic)

Omar squarely blamed Mehbooba and said that what she is talking about is already done on ground. He held her responsible for the growing militancy in valley during PDP-BJP rule.

 The question crops here should Mehbooba have spoken this language?

Mehbooba and her PDP is often accused of being soft towards the militancy and separatism in Kashmir. Prior to taking over the power corridors in Kashmir, Mehbooba was often spotted among militant families expressing solidarity with the relatives of slain militants, talking of peace with Pakistan irrespective of considering GoI’s concerns, opening of roads with Pakistan and above all cornering New Delhi for every decision they take against separatists in Kashmir.

Even in 2014 when India hanged Afzal Guru in Tihar jail, Mehbooba not only criticized New Delhi for his hanging but continued her demand for the return of mortal remains until she was in opposition. This is all despite the fact that she is mainstream politician and takes oath on the Indian constitution.

This threat of Mehbooba for the revival of militancy would never go well within the race course and north block in New Delhi. Mehbooba cannot hold the trigger of gun and seek her demands addressed.

Horse trading, changing parties is the basic phenomena of South Asian politics where dynastic rule refuses to die down. Mehbooba must have addressed her internal issues personally and played the smart political card instead going to this extreme end. Therefore, in case she wants to survive in politics she needs to introspect her political approach to the situations to sustain her future endeavour.

On the other hand, New Delhi where the BJP is in power and month back was partner to PDP in Jammu and Kashmir government, there is a thin line of trust that the people of Kashmir share with New Delhi. The democracy India is talking about, Kashmir is truly bereft off. Kashmir is yet to sense the real taste of democracy which the rest of country is enjoying.

The young generation born with the beginning of conflict in 1990’s have seen the worst times of life. The roar of guns, killings, tortures and the thick military blanket fighting insurgency in the region is what they know about India. Politically, the assumptions and presumptions about New Delhi’s frequent interventions in state’s political affairs has eroded the true democratic values among the people here.

If the allegations levelled by Mehbooba Mufti were right though the BJP has out-rightly denied, it will further erode the trust between the people of Kashmir and New Delhi.

Democratically, it can fight against the dynastic rule and encourage more institutions to grow up with public support. However, behind the scenes any misdemeanour by New Delhi will be treated ill among the masses in general and will have dangerous consequences for the democracy that is still struggling in Kashmir to flourish.

This was earlier published in print edition of ‘ The Legitimate’

 

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