Concluding the debate on Governor’s address to the joint session of the State Legislature, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti exposed to the hilt the dimensions of a conspiracy that resulted in nearly five month long strike and shut down in Kashmir during the summer of 2016. Ever since armed insurgency broke out in Kashmir in 1990, this is the first time that any Chief Minister has exposed the actors behind a long spell of turmoil in the Valley and elucidated their nefarious designs one by one. The Chief Minister did not mince words as has been the wont with other Chief Ministers. She did not make double speak, she did not hide the facts and she did not spare those who were behind the conspiracy without mentioning their name. The Chief Minister gave argument after argument to convince the House that whatever happened in Kashmir during five painful months was pre-meditated and pre-planned to bring about de-stabilization of the Government and plunge the State into chaos and confusion. Obviously, this situation was as much painful to her as to anybody else.
Looking in retrospect, we find that whatever was rumoured during those five months was meant to denigrate the Government and whip up sentiments among the people that would pour oil on burning flames. The rumours like the Government proposing to establish Sainik Colony or Pandit Colony in Kashmir was utterly baseless yet it was given hype in a way that the Government was maligned and made the target. The activities of the separatists and the youth they roped in to bring about disruption of normal life in the length and breadth of the valley are beyond comprehension. She said that no sensible person would agree to burning the school buildings and thus depriving the children from continuing their education in Government schools.
There is great deal of pathos in the speech of the Chief Minister and rightly so. She made no bones in saying that the situation that was created under a conspiratorial plan was never anticipated and as such there could be no comparison between what happened in 2010 and 2016. The comparison was futile, she argued. Though one independent member in the House tried to interrupt the Chief Minister saying that she was out to malign Kashmiris, the Treasury benches shouted him down and the Chief Minister resumed her address. This address was powerfully loaded with facts and arguments to the extent that the opposition could feel it had been nailed. This, she said, clearly showed that they had no real interest in helping peace return to Kashmir. Refuting the argument that the Chief Minister had failed to deploy security forces in time to control the mass upsurge in the aftermath of the killing of Burhan, the Chief Minister said that the incident happened at a time when it was the peak hour of pilgrimage to Amarnath and most of the security forces and police were deployed on pilgrimage duty. As the conspirators had chosen a time for mass uprising with meticulous care so as to synchronize with the yatra, it became difficult for the Government to mobilize more security forces in short time. The conspirators knew it and planned according to the situation they thought was very conducive to their designs. The most telling proof of nefarious designs of the handlers of unrest was that they brought out small kids on streets and instigated them to launch attacks on police camps. But as soon as the boys were about to mob the camps, their handlers would give a slip so that they are not arrested in the melee. The purpose was to prompt the police or security forces to do big damage to the boys and then make out a big case against the Government. She gave the figures of people who lost their lives in the course of turmoil as well as the figures of security persons who were injured. She announced constitution of Special Investigation Teams (SIT) for each district to submit a report on the unrest and losses in terms of life and property and also announced compensation to the bereaved families and also those who are wounded or physically incapacitated. However, separate SITs would probe the killings of a Lecturer at Khrew and an ATM guard at Karan Nagar, Srinagar.
We appreciate that the Chief Minister has removed controversy about a number of things connected with the summer unrest and given a clear and comprehensive picture of a deep-seated conspiracy against the people. We hope that all sensible people in the Valley will realize that they should not trust dubious leaders who mislead the youth into confrontation with the Government.