The BJP seems unmindful that Jammu and Kashmir is going through its most serious security crisis since the early-1990s militancy. This is the time to construct the edifice of positive politics and take effective security-related steps with the backing of the people — a factor the ruling party hadn’t concerned itself with in the three years it was in government with the PDP. But now the saffron party evidently believes a show of aggressive partisanship may help it in next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
J&K is not like other states in India. Even when there is a single-party government in the state, the Centre plays an overarching role on the security as well as the development side. In fact, not a leaf is said to move without New Delhi’s go-ahead. And yet, all that BJP leaders have done of late is to blame Mehbooba Mufti as chief minister for letting terrorism get out of hand, and for discriminating against the Jammu and Ladakh regions, which are not Muslim-majority, unlike the Valley.
The BJP playing innocent bystander, when in reality everything that’s happened in J&K in the past three years has been on its instructions, makes one gasp. It is a sign of post-truth if there was one.
When the saffron party entered a coalition setup with the PDP in March 2015, it inherited a relatively calm situation in Kashmir. By the time the BJP decided to ditch its ally last week, it had come to preside over a theatre of raging terrorist violence in the Valley, and the party seemed to have no instruments to deal with the volatile situation which its policies had brought about. Apparently, it now thinks blaming its former ally, and various Opposition parties, will help it deflect the people’s anger.
Speaking in Jammu on Saturday, BJP president Amit Shah alleged that as CM Ms Mufti had “discriminated” against Jammu and Ladakh. The truth is that due to escalating radicalism and the plunging security situation, there was practically no development in the state, with no region being an exception. The people as a whole suffered, not the residents of particular areas, as Mr Shah falsely suggests with a view to driving a communal wedge.
He also attacked Saifuddin Soz, Congress leader from J&K, for writing in a just published book that, according to Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf, Kashmiris preferred independence to joining Pakistan. For his own part too, Mr Soz seems to speak of the importance of the independence sentiment in Kashmir, while adding that this was an impracticality. As for Gen. Musharraf, he wasn’t taken to task by his countrymen. But the BJP apparently wears a thin skin. Perhaps Mr Soz is also being targeted because it was his vote in 1999, when he was a National Conference MP, that had brought down the Atal Behari Vajpayee government.