Stop running with hare, hunting with hounds, Mr Politician
JAMMU: The multiple terror strikes in election bound Kashmir raise one mute but important question-how long shall the so-called mainstream politicians run with hare and hunt with hounds. They cannot have better of both the worlds. They cannot eat the cake and have it too either.
Kashmir situation is so fragile that it can erupt like volcano anytime.
Killing of yet another eleven security personnel-eight soldiers, three policemen besides a civilian-is a reminder of what Pakistan and her cronies are actually upto. Ironically, the mainstream leaders continue to provide them much needed moral support by seizing every opportunity to hit back at security forces and initiatives taken by the Centre to counter terrorism.
Armed Forces Special Powers Act has been much abused and most talked about issue during second half of the current National Conference-Congress Coalition Government in Jammu and Kashmir. Peoples Democratic Party and the national parties like Congress and Communist Party of India (Marxist) too have based their politics on this issue rather than concentrating on stepping up development, consolidating peace and sorting out grievances of the people. The AFSPA is not in force in the Kashmir Valley alone; it transcends to the Jammu province and the Ladakh region also. However, there has not been a word in protest against its continuation in the latter two pockets of the State. Why Kashmir (precisely its mainstream politicians) alone is active in hammering this Act? There is a specific reason for that. Much nurtured and pampered politicians have developed a vested interest over the issue of AFSPA. It is a ready tool to exploit public sentiment and bully the Centre. Had it not been so, the issue would not have come under focus in October 2011, two months ahead of the completion of the first spell of Omar led government. The expectation within Congress cadre and the common perception across the State was the change of guard with Omar Abdullah hanging his boots and paving way for either Ghulam Nabi Azad or Saif-ud-Din Soz to step in, as per precedence set during PDP-Congress coalition between 2002 and 2008. In fact, senior Congress leader Makhan Lal Fotedar got even activated in Kashmir to push the case of Saif-ud-Din Soz. The back channel developments thereafter in the backdrop of factionalism with Congress and the leadership controversy went in favour of Omar Abdullah to continue.
This was the beginning of AFSPA serving as a magic wand for mainstream politicians. Saif-ud-Din Soz too pitched for its revocation notwithstanding his serious objections to the Chief Minister’s unilateral announcement in this regard. The isolated CPI (M) voice also joined the chorus against AFSPA but the big ticket hammering came from PDP who mocked at Omar Abdullah for not succeeding in getting the State free from, what they called, Draconian law. There is no end to politics being played over this issue and, in fact, it got momentum with elections nearing. National Conference and PDP virtually got embroiled into competitive discourse over the revocation of AFSPA, not in the larger interest of the people but to play to the galleries-secessionists in this case.
Now that the terror monster has struck with big bang, will these mainstream parties explain their position on continuation or discontinuation of AFSPA? Kashmir situation is so fragile that it can erupt like volcano anytime. This has happened today; this may happen tomorrow or day after as well. After today’s gruesome incidents, who amongst the mainstream politicians or soft secessionists shall pay for the lives of soldiers, cops or civilians? The political actors will have to choose between the two fences that stand face to face in Kashmir.