Storm on Alam’s release

Shafiq Mir
The release of hardcore separatist leader Masrat Alam Bhat by the Mufti led State Government of Jammu and Kashmir has kicked a political storm from Jammu to Delhi. Not only the opposition parties are condemning the decision of Mufti Government for the sake of opposition, even his own coalition partner BJP has come on streets against the decision saying that the step was not part of the common minimum program pact signed between the two partners .Masrat Alam Bhat, heading a separatist organization Muslim League in the state, was allegedly mastermind behind the uprising in Kashmir in 2008 and 2010 as per Government version.
At the time of his arrest in 2010, the state Government had claimed a big achievement and even Rs 10 lakh was announced by the Government for the informer who had helped in his arrest. As per the Government version, Mr Bhat was the person who had planned protest programs in 2010 uprising  and he was the mastermind of stone pelting in which at least 120 young boys were killed in retaliatory firing by security forces .In the past four years, Alam was released by the court many times but was again taken in to custody under public safety act (PSA) apprehending his potential of creating trouble again as per the government version.
However, his release by Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has put BJP his coalition partner in trouble for obvious reasons as this party has  always been against giving any concession to the separatist forces in the state and has been advocating for stern action and iron hand dealing. In fact, the BJP is under sever pressure from its hard core allied organizations which played an important role to bring this party  in power from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and it cant afford to displease them . And BJP has an apprehension that if they compromise on these issues they may loose the support of that particular constituency in future. Thus they are making all hue and cry to keep their lot intact. But at the same time, BJP forgets that the party called PDP which took the risk of alliance with BJP has also its survival at stake.
From the very beginning since the election results were announced in the state of Jammu and Kashmir with PDP and BJP as two largest parties, there was a strong argument from all the circles that both these parties having ideology poles apart can not come together. However, after two months long deliberations between the two both the parties signed a pact of common interests and decided to cometogether. Finally, on March 1st 2015, a historical Government took the oath in winter capital Jammu where BJP was partner for the first time in the 67 years history of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. And it was only bold and foresighted decision of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who made the party like BJP relevant in the state power politics which was untouchable till then. It was not an easy job for Mufti to forge an alliance with the BJP in the state like Jammu and Kashmir particularly in the present situation. Despite being  warned and cautioned by political and social circles from with in state and out side not to go with BJP, however, he took the bold step and went ahead. Before taking this risky step it took Mufti about two months to convince his followers and supporters.   Similarly, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has also his political survival at stake in Kashmir valley after he allied with BJP, the move not seen good by his followers. During his two months long deliberations after the election results were out on 23rd December 2014, Mufti tried his best to convince the people of his particular constituency that BJP was  not as dangerous  and communal as they think citing his earlier era of “Business” with Atal Bihari Vajpayee when he had taken many political initiatives to bring  peace in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Even then he could not convince them. However, he took the bold step and formed Government with BJP on March 1st 2015. Mufti had already in his mind that he will prove his all critics untrue by taking some political steps particularly in Kashmir as he had done during Atal Bihari Vajpayee regime in Delhi in 2003.
In fact, it was great blessing for the BJP to come in power in the state like Jammu and Kashmir where it was untouchable so far and its all credit goes to Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who took this risk at the cost of his own political survival.   After taking this bold step, now the  Mufti wanted to prove  his critics untrue and wanted  to send a message to his particular constituency that BJP was not as bad as they think. With this strategy, Mufti ordered the release separatist leader Masrat Alam Bhat. However, within hours, BJP leadership came under pressure from its group of hard liners and opposed the decision thus making the argument of Mufti’s critics strong. Now, what is the way out? BJP demands roll back of the decision . If Mufti does so, it means he can not take any political step towards reconciliation in Kashmir what he had been promising and arguing for his alliance with BJP . And it will be political death for Mufti and his party PDP.  Political observers say Mufti can not take this risk now. He will go ahead with his decision  whatever the consequences.  And, if BJP takes any haste decision and Government falls, Mufti will emerge victorious and BJP will go irrelevant for ever in the power politics of the state and no party in future can even think of forging alliance with BJP in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In fact, Jammu Kashmir BJP has always been doing street politics in the past sixty years and it has least experience of power politics. The Governments are not run from streets but with vide  broad and cool minds.  BJP has to understand if it comes out from the Government for a petty issue of release and arrest which is routine in JK, it will go irrelevant for ever and it will not find any ally in future. My gut feeling says that BJP has to face many more such issues in the days to come, because Mufti will also try his best to prove his decision of alliance with BJP right by taking the healing touch steps . And  BJP will have to think with cool mind if they want to be part of the power politics in the state of Jammu and Kashmi. Moreover, if BJP can please the of people like Parveen Togadia for their political compulsions Mufti will also do same with the Togadias of his constituency .
(The author is a senior         journalist and columnist.)

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