Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo
The one hundred thirty four year old political party of India, Congress, ultimately has decided to toe a line that has a great potential to disturb the peace and tranquility in the country and create a political controversy in the Jammu and Kashmir context. Statements unleashed by Congress and Communist groups in the country are pregnant with hatred and acrimony against the BJP, PM Narendra Modi and the NDA government. There is, unfortunately, a big amount of falsehood and frustration in the position and stance taken by this political company. The fact of the matter is that the Congress party lost its seven decade old political narrative on Article 370 well right before its eyes and ears in a three minute historic bravado by the BJP President and Union Home Minister, Amit Shah in the Rajya Sabha.
The Government, in the present context, initiated its action regarding Jammu and Kashmir on the ground during the night of 30-31 July 2019 when it started sending more para-military forces to the state for the duties there consequent upon NSA Ajit Doval’s report on Kashmir. The NSA was in the J&K state on and around 26th July 2019. This initiative was followed by discreet consultations at security, law and order and administrative levels. When everything seemed to be quite in control at all levels, it was time to act politically. Asking Amarnath Yatries and the tourists to leave Kashmir for their homes along with the students studying in the valley from various corners of the country was a precautionary measure to lessen the burden of the information and communication weight causing worries and concerns. Having fully geared up at the Central and State level, the government hinted, for the first time publicly, that certain more than the usual serious issues are at hand.
The curtain rose with the public announcement by the BJP issuing a whip to its members in Parliament to be present in the respective Houses from 5th August to 7th August 2019, without fail. This decision coupled with perfect security and law and order arrangements in the state and particularly in the Kashmir valley, the Government announced that the Home Minister Amit Shah would be initiating discussion in the Upper house, Rajya Sabha, at 11.00 AM on 5th August 2019. It was initially a three minute submission by the HM when he introduced Bills, Presidential Order and the Resolutions in the Rajya Sabha to the effect to bring historic changes about Jammu and Kashmir which have great political, historical, constitutional and diplomatic value.
The initial five days from 5th August to 10th August were quite engaged in Parliamentary Affairs and the Government responses to the situation while the political parties spectrum gave its reactions to the emerging scenario continuously. The Government took measures in Kashmir to keep the political mainstream and the separatist top leaders both out of public glaze and arranged for them Government guest houses in the Srinagar city and some middle rung leaders and activists were sent to a couple of cities outside the state. Some senior separatist and mainstream leaders and politicians in the valley were kept under house arrest as precautionary measures. Section 144 was clamped in order to disallow any public gathering causing disturbance to peace and order. Kashmir has an unfortunate history of clamp downs, clamping of Section 144 and curfews but for wrong reasons. There has been use of force everytime to maintain law and order. This time the restrictions are there for a right cause and with positive motivations in order to implement an integrationist constitutional and political measure in the state. And to the surprise of many, no untoward incident took place anywhere in the state and no brute force was applied anywhere. People did not come out in hundreds and thousands to protest massive police bandobast, contrary to the earlier situations. In fact, people have shown positive reactions so far as the clamp down on the politicians is concerned. The politicians of the mainstream parties have virtually lost not only the ground but also the agenda.
The way the Government business in both the houses of parliament was discussed, debated and approved gave Congress and its allies an embarrassing defeat and they had to eat a humble pie. Their situation, politically speaking, was untenable and unpalatable for them due to the fact that their own members and allies went with the government agenda in the larger interests of the nation. This they justified even during their speeches in parliament while crossing over to the other side of the fences in an unprecedented mass exodus towards BJP. Article 370 and Article 35A abolition, creation of two UTs in Jammu and Kashmir, annuling old politics on Kashmir catagorised as ‘politics of appeasement’ and pouncing upon separatism, extremism and terrorism in the Jammu and Kashmir state are revolutionary measures to manage Jammu and Kashmir politically, administratively, security wise and diplomatically.
This author spent almost one week in Kashmir post parliamentary proceeding.
It needs to be mentioned here that there was a large contingent of people connected with the electronic and print media from outside the valley camping at Srinagar for two weeks, touring various parts, talking to people and sending their regular reports after getting Government briefs. In no case, the news was blocked by the administration and neither were/are there any advisories to the media to sell a particular kind of line to the nation about the situation in Kashmir valley. All political statements issued by the political parties criticising or castigating the government and its actions in Kashmir are guided by a mindset rather than by the ground realities in Kashmir. Media persons were taken in helicopters to oversee the situation on the day of IED-Ul-Azha and they toured the city of Srinagar and its adjoining areas out of their free will. In order to add to the context it may be mentioned that a full fledged Media Facilitation Centre was established in the heart of the Srinagar city where local and non-local journalists are camping for the last two weeks with facilities needed for flow of information.
NSA Doval camped in Srinagar city and toured Srinagar, Anantnag and Shopian districts. He mixed up with the local people, had tea and lunch with them and also talked to the police and paramilitary forces conveying to them words of wisdom and encouragement. He also paid a visit to the Lal Chowk in Srinagar. Ghulam Nabi Azad’s statement that the NSA was talking to the hired and paid people is a serious reflection of his mindset against the Kashmiri people whom he considers as “sell out”. It is a typical Congress version of Kashmir policy which they pursued for long seven decades. NSA was also present in the central Independence Day function at Srinagar in which the Governor Satpal Malik hoisted the national flag.
People in Kashmir feel quite satisfied with the measures taken by the Government against the mainstream politicians. They are of the view that the present situation was the outcome of the policies and programmes pursued by them for the last seven decades. Their outbursts against the families of Abdullah, Mufti and Congress are guided by the fact that they amassed unaccounted wealth, assets and position at the cost of the common man in the Kashmir valley. They consider them the root cause of their disaster, devaluation of Kashmir politics and serious large scale financial bunglings in the state. While talking to people in Baramulla, it was revealed by the people on ground on the day of IED that the mainstream politicians had developed a vested interest in the continuation of separatism and terrorism.
There are instances to prove that there was always an underhand agreement between the separatist forces and the mainstream politicians in Kashmir who acted hands in glove with all these years. PDP’s role in the Government recently is a glaring example in this connection. People accuse political parties particularly the PDP and NC of ruining the future of Kashmiris for their own political and financial benefits. They want result oriented action against these politicians. Chidambarams, Mani Shanker Ayers and Digvijay Singhs of Congress by their shameful and communal statements on Kashmir have further exposed the Congress. They seem to be hell bent upon to dig graves for Congress by their assertions and hyperbole on Kashmir. They are so bereft of the ground realities in Jammu and Kashmir that even their own party people call them ‘hatemongers on Kashmir’. The brazen statement of the leader of Congress, Adheer Ranjan Chaudhry, in the Lok Sabha during the debate on Abolition of Article 370 promulgation trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue has already damaged Congress to a great extent.
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The Government did not allow the senior leaders of Congress, CPI and CPIM to enter the Kashmir valley post 370-abolition consequent upon the administration’s evaluation and assessment that their entry would disturb peace, order and tranquility. But these parties and particularly the Communist groups have been successful in gate-crashing into Kashmir through the Urban Nexals. In this connection, it needs to be said that some urban nexalites have made their entry into the Kashmir valley over the past one week and are trying to instigate the common people against the government and the Parliament. It is a very serious issue and the local administration is appealed to take this new development very seriously. It is one more attempt by the failed politicians and the urban nexals to try their hand on Kashmir situation which need urgent and appropriate action by the administration.
It is also important to caution the public not to be swayed by any mischievous propaganda which certain vested interests with a negative mindset are trying to use as a weapon to disturb the calm that is prevailing in the valley right from 1st August 2019.
It is gratifying to note that the inmates of the KP Transit camps are well and though feeling cut off are safe and secure. I had an elaborate meeting with the inmates of the Pandit colony at Sheikhpura-Budgam where the inmates briefed us about the situation of the camp and the inmates. One incomplete complex comprising 16 flats need to be fully completed as early as possible since the inmates of these flats are facing severe problems connected with their basic needs. I also visited the temple built in the colony and paid obeisance there. We asked the inmates to play a positive role about conveying PM Modi’s message to the common people in the valley and be assured that the governments will be doing everything possible that they promised to do. In Baramulla and Kheerbhawani Transit camps, things were quite normal. The people in general felt satisfied with the government’s precautionary measures connected with their safety and security.
Unfortunately, Congress & Co. seems to have nose-dived into the trap of Pakistan so far as their political narrative and responses in regard to Jammu and Kashmir, separatism and terrorism are concerned. It also seems an end game for Congress in Jammu and Kashmir since it not only betrayed the people’s trust in the Jammu and Kashmir state but also betrayed the nation’s trust on various issues of national concerns. People in general felt that the Congress party was playing into the hands of Pakistan in regard to Kashmir issue. Congress allys are also more or less in the same situation.
Jammu and Kashmir has four important things to attend to ie. Development, Welfare, Peace and End to terrorism. Any political party and a government that can do justice to this agenda will have a future assured and reassured in Jammu and Kashmir. The government and the political parties are free to take a call, sooner than later. It is time to act and act fast in order to take the common man into confidence in tune with “Sabka sath, Sabka vikas, Sabka vishwas”.
Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo