The Bold Voice of J&K

In Lucknow Modi warns ‘helpers and harbourers of terror’, in J&K his Govt accords them VVIP status

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srinagar map Mismatch between BJP’s theories and practicals in Jammu and Kashmir

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR: In his first public speech after the September 29 surgical strikes across LoC in Jammu and Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the Dusshera celebration in Aishbagh of Lucknow on Tuesday that his BJP Government would strike at the roots of terrorism in India. Plush with the euphoria the strategic operation has generated ahead of the Assembly elections in U.P, Modi didn’t stop there. “We have got to uproot terrorism. Those harbouring and helping terrorists will not be pardoned either”, Modi grumbled to cheers and slogans from his animated audiences.
Among all the mainstream opposition parties who is ‘harbouring and helping’ terrorists with specific context to Jammu and Kashmir?
There’s no denying the fact that at the national political domain, a number of the politicians in Congress party, CPI, CPI (M) and JDU etcetera have been remarkably soft to different hues of guerrilla from Naxalites to the Kashmiri terrorists. That indeed has forced almost all the mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, excluding BJP and National Panthers Party etcetera, to take a line close to that of the separatist Hurriyat Conference. While as the last ‘nationalist’ politician Farooq Abdullah has been silenced, some of the State’s political parties, Peoples Democratic Party in particular, have for years competed with Hurriyat on secessionism.
It is unambiguously clear that Modi or his NDA cannot take any action against any pro-separatist, pro-terrorist mainstream political party given the fact that the most prominent of them, namely PDP, is BJP’s coalition partner and holding the hot seat in Jammu and Kashmir. It was mainly to protect the prospects of BJP’s government formation with PDP that Modi and his BJP were compelled to make sacrifices and compromise the party’s stated position vis-à-vis separatism. Having the State flag on their vehicles and offices was the constitutional compulsion of the BJP Ministers but they remained mute to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s ordering the release of near 200 stone-pelters on the separatist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s demand on July 7, 2016.
Modi’s government at the Centre is also known to have prevented Delhi Police from getting after some 20 Kashmiri students who, during an investigation, had been found to have raised anti-India, pro-Azadi, pro-Geelani and pro-Burhan slogans at JNU in February 2016. The BJP leaders feared that the Kashmiri students’ and non-students’ arrest could stop Mehbooba Mufti from forging an alliance with their party in Jammu and Kashmir.
Massarat Aalam’s release and his holding a huge pro-Pakistan show for Geelani’s reception in April 2015 was also one of the umpteen comprises of BJP, though it eventually forced then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to re-arrest Massarat and put him in jail for infinity. In recent times, many of PDP’s own leaders, including MLA of Tral and one MP, have publicly glorified terrorists and stone-pelters and called J&K a “disputed territory”.
Independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid has outsmarted all of his competitors in demonising and discrediting India and calling for ‘Plebiscite’ under the UN resolutions.
Now that it is clear that all the mainstream politicians in J&K are holding New Delhi’s “license” to keep the separatists and terrorists in good humour and to continue the peoples’ emotional exploitation for making themselves secure and winning vote in the elections, would Modi touch any of the separatists who have been proudly owning, representing , harbouring and helping the terrorists and espousing Pakistan’s Kashmir cause without any fear or hesitation since 1990?
Not a single person in the Valley seems to believe that the firebrand Indian Prime Minister would lay his hands on any of the separatist leaders. All and sundry here dismiss his Lucknow warning as rhetorical and hollow. “When, of late, media raised questions over India’s policy of according VVIP status and spending hundreds of crores of Rupees on their luxuries and security, Modi and his BJP chose to remain mute spectators. They neither uttered a word in reaction nor asked any of the protected separatists to tone down their virulent anti-India and pro-Pakistan speeches and statements”, observed a political analyst, wishing anonymity.
In the past 96 days of street turbulence, triggered by Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter, a couple of the protected and privileged separatists have held a low-key profile but many of them have left no stone unturned to foment trouble and turmoil, while enforcing complete shutdown for over three months.
Within 24 hours of Modi’s Lucknow speech, the separatists on Wednesday issued a fresh calendar, asking the people to continue shutdown till October 20 besides holding demonstrations on streets. They have not granted any daytime relaxation in the shutdown.
Protected separatists have played a key role in shutting down educational institutions, banks and government offices. On their persuasion, shutdown vigilantes have roughed up and left injured hundreds of people defying the call and over a thousand of the vehicles have been damaged. At least five persons have died due to stone pelting and hundreds of public properties, including the residential houses of a number of pro-India political activists, have been destroyed in fire. A situation of anarchy has ceased to relent for three months. While the Pakistan Independence Day was for the first time in 70 years observed at more than 100 places with tremendous enthusiasm on August 14, the separatist leaders have ensured waving of the Pakistani national flags at all the innumerable demonstrations from one end of Kashmir to another.
The maximum brunt of current turbulence has been faced by J&K Police that has been completely demoralised and made incapacitated to move beyond their camps and riot spots. Over a hundred of their rifles have been either looted by terrorists or destroyed in fire by their supporters. This notwithstanding the fact that nearly 150 Police personnel, including some gazetted officers, have been attached to the separatist leaders for their personal security and house guards. Quite a number of them have been provided same bullet-proof cars and escort vehicles that are attached to Cabinet Ministers and officials of senior most ranks.
Interesting most of the separatists have been provided VVIP status and Police protection by Atal Behari Vajpayee’s NDA-I government. Until 1996, only one of them had been provided these privileges. In 1996, Prime Minister H.D. Devegowda’s government provided VIP status and security to three prominent separatist leaders. One of them, namely SAS Geelani, later returned it to the Government.
In Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s UPA Government, VIP status and Police protection of the separatist leaders was remarkably upgraded.
Those who got VIP status and security in Dr Singh’s government include two former militants who were prominent commanders in their organisations. One of them was also allotted a Government house.
Almost all of these protected separatists enjoy free access to Srinagar airport, are respectfully seated in VIP lounge and even the government officers in different services have been granted special promotions and prize postings. Their residences and offices look like the official bungalows of Ministers and DGPs.
If Modi translates his threat into action and touches the separatist politicians, who according to his interpretation, are clearly “harbourers and helpers of terrorism”, it will be the beginning of a new political era in J&K. However, nobody here believes Modi or anyone else in his regime has a spine to disturb the software infrastructure of secessionism in Kashmir, particularly so as long as BJP is in coalition with PDP. That explains why all the protected and privileged separatists are unfazed over Modi’s rhetoric

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