Is coalition functioning steadily?

By K.N. Pandta

There are worrying signs about the coalition government’s will to function according to the diktat of national interests. Some of their actions do not conform to words, and even go contrary to what is said in public.

In particular, BJP’s role as partner in the government is carefully evaluated by stakeholders and analysts.

We are looking for re-assuring indications that would reveal convergence between the two partners on serious national issues like security, national integration, mass mobilization against proliferating religious extremism, xenophobia, developmental priorities, and implementation of centrally sponsored schemes, industrial integration and challenges to Jammu identity.

Questions on the status of J&K as the confederating unit of the Indian Union are raked up by certain circles to create doubts and misgivings. Controversies like accession and integration, the actual date of signing the instrument of accession by Maharaja Hari Singh, accession on only three items etc. are given media hype by interested circles albeit in a very subtle manner.

BJP members in Jammu are tongue-tied on rising crescendo of terrorism in Kashmir valley following the Burhan episode. It is not to disparage security forces or army; it is to underline the help terrorist are receiving in Kashmir. These elected leaders simply mislead their respective constituencies by claiming that ever since Modi assumed the reins of the government, militancy related scenario has improved.

The fact is that not a single Kashmir-based MLA has taken the Chief Minister’s advice seriously that they should educate and inform people in their respective constituencies on what is in the interests of the people at large and what is not. However, they are quick to raise questions when some fatalities happen in the course of security forces countering the subversives.

What does it mean when a militant is killed in an encounter, thousands of civilians of the locality come out to protest the killing? Where are the MLAs of the respective constituencies? Why don’t they tell people not to give shelter to militants and ask the militants to give up guns? Why does the State government wait to let the militant get killed, rabble roused and then announce five lakh rupees to the kin of the militant as compensation. What is the meaning of this subversion by the coalition partners?

No MLA either from the ruling party or the opposition raised any question about the arrival of non-state subjects from Burma, Bangladesh and reportedly Somalia. How these people in thousands have come and settled in specific localities in Jammu and not in Kashmir. Who gave them visa and directed them to go and settle down in Jammu? On whose dictation is our foreign office acting? No MLA, much less from BJP, demanded the government to disclose how many FIRs were lodge against some of these people in police stations for crimes during past six years, on what charges and what was the disposal? Why do these matters remain hidden from the people of the State?

The State Government vows that it will protect the individuality of the State by strictly enforcing the State Subject Law. How come that law has evaporated in thin air, and as grapevine has it, the government is mulling to settle these non state subjects in clusters on forest land in Jammu and issue them ration cards and Aadhaar cards? The story of clandestine immigration of Bengladeshis to Assam is being repeated viciously and both partners in the government have maintained Sphinx like silence because they are working in tandem to destroy States identity and change the demographic complex on Jammu.

The coalition government tells Kashmiri Hindus that they have to resettle in their non-existent homes if they ever want to return but to the illegal immigrants, it wants to create clusters just because they are Muslims and their presence in Jammu helps demographic change. The BJP show-boys are happy that they are MLAs minus tongue and soul. They see no evil, talk no evil and hear no evil.

The coalition government is deliberately sidetracking some important clauses of Agenda for Alliance. The Agenda specifically sets forth that Kashmiri Pandit IDPs will be resettled concertedly in the valley because their houses in original places are now non-existent. This was also the agenda for Parliamentary election of BJP. What has happened to it? BJP is more tongue tied than PDP, which, however, does render lip service occasionally but the BJP has made it an article of faith to remain tongue tied.

The Kashmir Study Centre works seriously for almost a decade now. However, it never organized a single exclusive seminar on the question of rise of extremism and terrorism in Kashmir or return and resettlement of IDPs of Kashmir valley or the formula of resettlement. The one sentence mantra that rings loud in every national or regional party’s mouth is that Pandits are integral part of Kashmir and Kashmir is incomplete without them. Nothing is more comic. The Pandits take a hearty laugh.

Abhinava Gupta celebrations have contributed to the Indian civilizational fund. But the Pandits ask how it is going to alleviate their suffering, reassure their return and non re-foulment and security of life and sustenance. They ask how is celebrating Abhinav Gupta going to help pull four lakh Kashmiri Hindus out of the morass of 27 years of exile and psychological repression.

There are serious questions about how the coalition government perceives relations with the Indian Union. Do they really subscribe to nationalist cause? Dismissal of Standing Counsel Sunil Fernandez in a bizarre manner raises the crucial question of how State pro-secessionist segment within the government is trying to sabotage national integrity. By dismissing the solicitor general for not filing petition for a wrong cause clearly indicates that J&K government authorities have scant faith in the Supreme Court of India. What more indignation can there be against the Apex Court. Modi government pockets the insult with borrowed bravado. When a Kashmiri IAS officer openly asserts that State bureaucracy is part of “our freedom movement” what does it mean and convey? Who is to challenge a stand like this?

BJP is not a regional party like PDP. BJP is not born out of the womb of terrorism as the PDP is. Behind BJP is the saga of sacrifices by intellectuals like Shama Prasad Mukherjee, Din Dayal Upadhyaya, Pandit Premnath Dogra and Pandit Tika Lal Taploo and others. BJP must understand these great sons of the soil had clear vision about Kashmir.

Kashmir Assembly has become a cesspool for anti-Indian forces. Anti-national statements, observations, comments and remarks are exuded by some of the inmates without compunction; abuses are hurled on iconic symbols of Indian State like the national anthem and national flag. A member demands in the Assembly that the Pandits should apologize for not joining the externally sponsored jihad aiming at separation of Kashmir from India, and the BJP members have not the guts even to utter word “shame” on such tirade. Do they represent the peoples’ views?

The chief minister harps on Indo-Pak dialogue. When opposition was in power it also went on harping on Indo-Pak dialogue. But now in opposition it has changed the goal post and is asking for tripartite talks. None among the coalition partners tells the leader of opposition that he should walk in the footsteps of his grandfather and travel to Islamabad and GHQ and talk to those who he wants India to talk to. Let this Kashmir leadership first decide its position vis-à-vis Pakistan and then talk of tripartite dialogue. This is not what the coalition government should say and not the civil society.

Leaving apart the BJP as coalition partner, the echelons of BJP are revealing waywardness of their Kashmir policy. Unwittingly they are pandering to an agenda that goes against the larger interests of the nation. They are as much the victims of paucity of understanding Kashmirian antics as were those who preceded them in seats of power in Delhi.

To refer to only one example, Gadkari the Surface Transport Minister lionizes himself for frugally funding road links and tunnels in Kashmir like those at Pir ki Gali on Mughal Road and Semthan in Kishtwar on road to Anantnag. The chief minister repeats the mantra of opening all links to PoK or Pakistan namely Suchet Garh-Sialkot and Kargil-Askardu road. Thousands of crores of rupees are allocated by Gadkari for connectivity projects. We wish the CM took steps towards implementing pending or abandoned centrally sponsored schemes for the development of the State rather than insist on establishing road links with Pakistan which will facilitate the jihadis in their subversion plans.

The issue of sub-Article 35 of the Indian Constitution, the no-delimitation till 2022 law, PR for 1947 emigrants from Pakistan, Kashmir Hindu Shrines and Temples bill, constitution of inquiry committee into the rise of jihadism and terrorism in Kashmir, mass campaign for pressurizing the militants to give up guns and stop sending boys for terrorist training to PoK etc. are the issues that should have found place in the Agreement of Alliance. There is secrecy about that document for reasons best known to its authors. BJP’s total silence over the subversive trends in and out of Kashmir establishment is a serious matter from national perspective.

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