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J&K inching towards Governor’s Rule; final call to be taken by PM

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JAMMU: With situation in the Valley showing no signs of improvement, Jammu and Kashmir is inching towards Governor’s Rule, a move the BJP-led NDA at the Centre is hesitantly mulling, more-so in the wake of violence spreading its tentacles in parts of the Jammu region.
Sources close to BJP high command said that a decision in principle has been taken, after brain-storming sessions, spreading over three days, between high-ups in the ministries of Home and Defence besides intelligence agencies. The recommendations would be discussed at political level in the Home Ministry before putting these to the Prime Minister for final call.
However, the final decision is expected after the Independence Day, as the Prime Minister does not want the BJP to be seen as having raised hands in governing the state due to inefficiency and incapability of his own flock. In between today and the Independence Day, the Centre may convene an all party meet, as is being vouched by the entire opposition, to put the Kashmir scenario in right perspective and to pave the way for Governor’s Rule. However, the Centre will, in no way, take the blame on its own dispensation with PDP in tackling the situation.
According to sources, the Centre has been watching with distress the protests spreading beyond South Kashmir with separatists and over-ground leaders of various terror organizations activating like-minded people in the so-called Chenab Valley and Pir Panchal regions dominated by Muslim population. A concerted effort is being made to make the current spell of unrest religion specific with thrust of raking up human rights violations by blaming security forces. The protests in Kishtwar and Rajouri are being viewed in this backdrop as prelude to similar such protests in Doda, Kisthtwar, Ramban, Poonch and Rajouri districts.
The Home Ministry is reported to have got inputs about separatists intensifying activities ahead of Pakistan Day and the Indian Independence Day. The new spell of protests may stretch up to August 17, the death anniversary of Zia-ul-Haq.
The total collapse of civil administration, as also bickering within BJP has also been a compelling factor for the Centre to think about the option of gubernatorial rule, as further killings may demoralize PDP the most, forcing its leadership to take first step of stepping out. This will be something the BJP will least like in view of its political fall-out.
Though initially, according to sources, there was difference of opinion on the imposition of Governor’s Rule, as this may lead to a situation similar to the period between 1990 and 1996, thus shrinking the space for mainstream parties, yet the drift has been so wide which cannot be contained or bridged by the present coalition dispensation in the State. There has been growing pressure on Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to quit the alliance, as PDP cannot afford to be seen as a party to large scale killings. Also, votaries of the continuation of present arrangement have been candid in saying that any move to change of guard will be projected as their first victory by separatists.
The rethinking in PDP leadership over continuation of alliance and the Centre’s proposed move to impose Governor’s Rule is worrying mainstream parties, who apprehend their role limiting in near future. The Kashmir based lawmakers of the PDP, NC and Congress are already on notice by hardcore faction of Hurriyat Conference that has, overtly and covertly, been sending threats and feelers to them to quit their legislative seats to join, what is called in local parlance the ‘movement’. Together with intimidation from separatists and unbridled stone-pelters, as also guarded silence of the Centre vis a vis Kashmir situation, the mainstream parties in virtual fix.

Sources said that the Centre may initially keep the Legislative Assembly in suspended animation and put the State under Governor’s Rule in order to restore normalcy, as quickly as possible. By this they want to score twin objectives; first to tackle the law and order situation effectively and second to explore other options with regard to restoration of popular rule, once the situation stabilizes.  According to sources, the forward movement in this regard will be taken in a couple of days, most probably in the third week of this month, after the Central leadership gets latest brief from the Chief Minister, who is currently in the national capital.

 

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