Other side of ‘do-nothing policy’

By K.N. Pandit

Has the PM really adopted ‘do-nothing policy’ in regard to J&K, which BJP leader Mr. L.K. Advani wants him to shed? What if we put it the other way round?

Reliable sources computed the first anti-land deal demonstration in Srinagar at 4 to 5 thousand on the upper side. Srinagar urban elite and other components of civil society did not support it being mindful of its dire economic consequences.

Intriguingly, partisan print and electronic media blew the numbers out of proportion with banner lines likes “hundreds of thousands stage protest demonstrations in Srinagar.”

At the same time, sections of angry people in the valley attacked no fewer than 18 MLAs, mostly from PDP, accusing the party of reneging from the land-deal, and adopting bullying tactics. Again intriguingly, the media deliberately blacked out this major event.

The first salvo fired by anti-land deal crusaders hit Mr. Arun Kumar, the secretary to the Governor, and an IAS officer of deep integrity and competence. Separatists led by PDP labelled him anti-Muslim; frenzied media projected him a villain, and the ‘ mysterious lobby ’ at Delhi Durbar forced the chief minister and Governor into staging a farcical in-box enquiry, which conducted its hush-hush business in awkward scurry, pronounced him a culprit and saw him out within three days. The PMO obliged the Mufti who, frustrated by more than ten-fold increase in the number of Amarnath pilgrims this year, had found the secretary a spoiler of his designs of subversion.

Neither the MHA nor PMO felt it their duty to demand a fair trial and treatment of a senior bureaucrat of IAS cadre pilloried for unsubstantiated accusations. Compare this scurvy treatment with MEA’s robust defence of Ambassador Ronen Sen of “headless chicken” blusters.

Who is behind this covert manipulation and subversion: at whose behest and to what purpose? Media is expected to contradict falsehood, and uphold the right to information? Kashmir observers are mystified. Should we call it PMO’s “doing-nothing policy?”

Mufti’s discomfiture with Azad-led government became manifest soon after he reluctantly handed over power. Unwilling to play the second fiddle, he released his self-rule proposal in Islamabad and not in Srinagar only to subvert Azad’s patent nationalist stand. Delhi Durbar did not even blink. Instead of deliberating on contentious issues with coalition partners, he manipulated access to the Delhi powerhouse through his beneficent lobby. His two-pronged strategy to get things done his way was first to fortify his position among royal courtiers as Kashmir points-man, and second to work towards subverting and crippling Azad’s political influence and stature.

Replacement of Ghulam Nabi Azad by Saifu’d-Din Soz as PCC was a clear indication that the Mufti was pushing his plan through. By this time, Soz had been rewarded for his adeptness in the skill of delivering a concoction of the culture of betrayal and of sycophancy. To Azad’s great surprise, Mufti and Soz became strange bedfellows. With that came New Delhi’s refusal to give another term to Governor Sinha. Mufti killed two birds with one stone.

As the PMO was in the middle of creating an intended mess in J&K, the game on Kashmir chessboard now focused on the replacement of Governor Sinha. Knowing Mr. Vohra’s acquiescent role as Kashmir interlocutor, the mysterious lobby at PMO finally agreed upon his nomination over that of Wajahat Habibullah. The PMO found it feasible to oblige Mufti-Gilani combine, and let Wajahat pull the strings behind the curtain.

While the PMO acted with alacrity in showing the door to its senior bureaucrat of IAS cadre, it put its foot down in order to retain Governor Vohra despite six-week long massive demonstrations against him through the length and breadth of Jammu region. He has not only offended them but also insulted them.

Recalling the CRP chief from the operation field in Kashmir just because his men had to open fire in self defence when attacked by a frenzied mob, withdrawing full CRP battalion from Surankot in Poonch region because its personnel killed Pakistani terrorist commander Ghazi Baba in a gun fight, and repeated protests by the CRP personnel against local police for conniving at subversion and the logistics of fighting terrorists have immensely demoralised and endangered security forces. They are fighting the enemy, and simultaneously sections of administration, a double fight for which they are neither trained nor prepared.

Communal clashes in Kishtwar happened because the local S.P coming from Bhaderwah had an altercation with the CRP Commander who had asked him to conduct enquiry into a Muslim youth getting killed by a hand grenade, which exploded in his hand. No action is taken against the local SP who just stood and looked on while violent mobs indulged in loot and arson.

The question is where does this “do everything policy” of the PM lead the state and the country? When a senior bureaucrat and conspicuous member of the ‘ mystery lobby’ dashed to Srinagar to deliver PM’s letter to Yasin Malik, an accused in murder case of six air force personnel, what message does it give to the Theo-fascists of Kashmir and the activists of Jammu movement? When the MEA arranges a meeting between Mahbooba Mufti and Asif Zardari through its diplomatic mission in Islamabad, what message does it convey to those who are at the receiving end of terrorism in J&K?

Kashmir watchers are veering round the presumption that the mysterious lobby at PMO is meticulously paving the way for “sky is the limit” plan for Kashmir. Governor Vohra seems to have a key role in the game plan, and his removal would end up in its spoliation. Jammu Sangharsh Samiti has reasons to question the locus standi of a vice chancellor included in the four-member committee to conduct talks with it. He is not a political leader/figure; he is not a Jammuite and he is not a Dogra. All that the Sangharsh Samiti knows about him is that one who insulted his own community calling their expulsion from the valley as “self imposed exile” can hardly have any soft corner for the people of Duggar Desh.

It also knows his overt and covert support to the division of Kashmir along communal lines as will be ascertained from his published material like ‘Ten Commandments’, besides his public support to American think-tank Mr. Robert Wirsing’s Kashmir solution plan along communal division of the State carried forward by Farooq Kathwari and Wajahat Habibullah. It is no slip of tongue for Professor Saifu’d-Din Soz to say publicly that Pugwash, of which the vice chancellor is also a member, has good plans for solution of Kashmir problem. Pugwash is the brainchild of ISI with a wide network.

Incidentally, the Mufti’s lobbyists at Delhi Durbar vigorously push through this plan. In the 5th session of the Working Committee on Kashmir headed by Justice Saghir Ahmad, Mr. Vohra is on record having given his outright support to the plan of dividing Kashmir. The veteran Congress leader of Kashmir, Mr. Ghulam Rasool Kar said in a recent interview that the competence of Mr. Vohra was suspected even when he worked as Home Secretary under P.V. Narasimha Rao.

Knowledgeable sources have reported that Justice Saghir Ahmad has expressed his displeasure on PMO lobby trying to thrust the Kashmir division plan as a solution to the problem. He is also reported to have warned the union government of disastrous consequences of such perverse thinking.

Should we not, therefore, try to understand whether PMO is following a “ do-nothing policy” or “ do everything policy” in Kashmir. Actually it is overdoing its action by pandering to pro-separatist elements, discouraging security forces, succumbing to manipulative machinations of sections of Kashmir leaders with pro-Pak propensity and dangerously sidelining nationalist elements in all three regions of the state.

PMO needs to rein in the mysterious lobby, discourage divisive forces, break the coterie at Delhi durbar, stop letting down nationalist forces and replace appeasement of separatists and secessionists by enforcing legal and administrative measures equitably. The most important thing for it to do immediately is to restore the confidence and morale of our security forces in the trouble-torn state and clip the wings of the security adviser so that he no more paralyses the intelligence agencies of the country, which have are beset with immense responsibility of ensuring country’s security.
(The writer is the former director of the Centre of Central Asian Studies at Kashmir University).

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