Kashmir Valley’s current violent turbulence arises from being squarely let down by its political leaders and the Congress High Command in New Delhi. Nothing should be expected from the Kashmir Valley Muslim leaders of the Hurriyet and other separatist outfits because ideologically they are Muslim communalists dedicated to completing the unfinished task of India’s Partition of 1947 on behalf of their political masters and paymasters, that is Pakistan.
The Valley Muslims had high expectations from the so-called mainstream parties like the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who could form Governments in the last two elections in coalition with the Congress Party. In both these elections the Valley Muslims dared to vote overwhelmingly in the face of intimidation by Pakistan-sponsored terrorist organizations and boycott calls by the Hurriyet, reposing trust in a democratic future. In the tenure of both the PDP and NC Government now, rather than addressing the economic woes of the Valley Muslims both these parties wasted time in squabbling with each other and within their own parties. The Congress Party as the national party which should have been dedicated to emotional integration of the Valley Muslims with the Indian Republic was a passive spectator though having a controlling influence in both Governments as the coalition partner.
One has to admire the political guts of Shri Muzaffar Baig, the former Deputy Chief Minister in the PDP Government who admitted on a live TV panel discussion that the Kashmiri people have been badly let down by their own political leaders. Questioned as to what are political parties doing to pacify the teen aged protesters indulging in stone-throwing clashes with the Central Police Forces and getting killed in the process, he replied that the anger against Kashmiri Muslims was so high in the youth that they all possibly could be lynched if they were to interpose themselves between the violent youth and the security forces as an attempt towards pacification
The entire Kashmiri political leadership of different political hues is in a state of severe disconnect with the Valley Muslims as not only have failed to provide good governance to the Valley Muslims but also have been cowardly in not indulging in a ‘political reach-out’ to the Kashmir Valley youth leaving them to be manipulated by the Pakistan-sponsored separatist organizations.
The Kashmir Valley civil society, in whatever small numbers that they might be, and their counterparts in the rest of India, are also afraid to descend on the streets of Srinagar to pacify the youth in a violent enraged mood.
The Congress Government is to be severely blamed for not politically anticipating the outbreak of political violence despite the plethora of intelligence outfits that monitor the political scene in the Valley. The Prime Minister seems o have been badly let down by his close advisers on Kashmir for not cautioning him about the brewing storm. If he indeed was cautioned by his advisers, the Prime Minister has a lot to answer on allowing the Valley stability achieved by a decade of Indian Army and paramilitary forces efforts to slip out of the grasp of the Central Government.
The National Conference Government under Omar Abdullah has been totally inept and failed in providing good governance. And now without owning up to his political ineptitude he has chosen to harp on the political question of ‘greater autonomy’ for Kashmir. This was a pet subject of his father Farooq Abdullah too when as Chief Minister in the nineties he too set up task forces under a academic-duo now being termed in the Jammu region as closer to the separatist ideology.
The Kashmiri political leadership, virtually all from the Kashmir Valley, and all Kashmiri Muslims, must atone to their community for the violent state of things that now dominate the streets of Srinagar and also atone for their lack of good governance.
The Congress High Command should also realize that it is high time that it sheds its political ambiguities on the Kashmir issue, strongly and firmly maintain to Pakistan and its patrons that Kashmir is an internal issue of India and henceforth will not be discussed by it in international forums.
Lastly, as earlier stated in my recent Column on the subject, Kashmir Valley has to be strongly dealt with by the Congress Government to restore law and order, taking their kid-gloves off, and not succumb to half-way political measures like doing away with the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. The Congress Home Minister otherwise sharp should restrain himself from touching on this crucial subject on which hinges the security of the Kashmir Valley and keeping it out from the clutches of the Pakistan Army.