Farooq Abdullah may opt for a salutary mission

By K.N. Pandita

As long as Congress was in power at the Centre, National Conference seldom expressed any apprehension of Indian Parliament revoking Articles 370 and 35-A. Not only that, despite occasional protestation by the right-wing nationalist parties, the NC towing the Congress line maintained complete secrecy over Article 35-A especially when it was mysteriously and illegally enacted keeping the Parliament completely uninformed and uninvolved. Opposition often raised much noise about Nehru-Sheikh Accord but its details were never made public. The stunning perfidy surfaced only when the story of Nehru hoodwinking the Parliament came to fore after the Congress was ousted in 2014 Parliamentary election by the BJP. 

After NDA government assumed power in 2014, Kashmir Valley leadership of all hues began raising voices to warn the Union government of dire consequences if any attempt was made to erode Article 370. Warnings became more and more shrill denoting that Kashmir leadership felt increasingly insecure about its status. Mehbooba Mufti, the PDP chief and leader of the coalition with BJP, publicly said that if Article 370 meaning the Special Status of J&K is tampered with there would not be a single person in the valley to take up the Indian tricolour. Farooq Abdullah talked of streams of blood likely to flow in India if the NDA government dared to scrap Article 370. BJP, the coalition partner, did not react and did not define its position. Its silence reflected its political bankruptcy in J&K.

Ground situation denotes that both statements were off the mark. Firstly, Mahbooba Mufti only restated the ground reality. Was there a single tricolour to be seen fluttering anywhere in the valley during the last three decades? She gave an impression that the tricolour was fluttering proudly all over Kashmir and New Delhi should take care it does not derange this situation. This is rank blackmail and a hypocritical statement. In the same vein, Farooq Abdullah also struck the same note of blackmail and hypocrisy. Has not the blood of Kashmiris and non-Kashmiris, of security forces and paramilitary forces, of army and police and the religious minority of Kashmiri Hindus been flowing freely in Kashmir since 1989-90? Did Farooq Abdullah mean to carry the bloodshed to other parts of India? He did mean to hint at that.

Farooq has not chastened after remaining under house arrest for several months following the Indian Parliament passing Reorganization of J&K Act 2019 by a majority vote in the Parliament. Detention of many opposition leaders following the adoption of the Act had been necessitated by the government’s obligation of maintaining law and order in the state as provided by the constitution. Farooq Abdullah should recollect various preventive measures which his father late Sheikh Abdullah took as the Chief Administrator and Prime Minister of J&K in early 1948 justifying the measure by invoking the maintenance of law and order clause. Don’t forget that those measures included banishment of Mir Waiz Maulavi Yusuf Shah from Kashmir, as also the banishment of Radical Humanist (Royist) ideologues like Premnath Bazaz, K.L. Kaul, Jagan Nath Sathu and so many others. Farooq Abdullah should not use double standards for evaluating an identical situation.

The antics adopted by Farooq Abdullah after his house arrest restriction was lifted in no way reflects that he has either realized the sea change in the ground situation in Kashmir and in the region or he wants to be pragmatic in playing his role in the contemporary Kashmir politics. He has miserably failed to understand some harsh realities of Kashmir politics. He should not forget that Kashmiris detest the curse of medieval type dynastic rule because it has led to endemic corruption and nepotism. Secondly, he has been trying to be too smart to befoul the central leadership. His party cooperated with Atal Bihari Vajpayee government and secured the position of Minister of State for his son. He was eyeing for the position of President of India but his Congress bosses were wary of his vacillating behaviour. And after swearing by secularism and nationalism he finally declared that he would walk in the footprints of the Hurriyat. So where does he stand?

Farooq has a method in the madness. He has no doubt that the fate of J&K is sealed for ever by the Reorganization Act and no power on earth will revoke it. But the question for him is how to retain his popularity with the masses of people in the valley which has already shown many cracks when he was rejected in previous elections. A rank opportunist, he finds no option but to volunteer for becoming the Islamic standard-bearer to win back the lost prestige and popularity. Like Mahathir of Indonesia and Erdogan of Turkey, he decided to become the Islamic icon for non-Arab meaning non-Semitic Muslims of the valley who are already adrift with Wahhabism and Salafism.

By saying that he would follow the footprints of Hurriyat, does he think that he will be able to neutralize the abhorrence which the Jamatis and their supremos across the border have for him? The irony is that he does not understand that he has burnt the boats with Pakistan and his exhortations that India talk to Pakistan cut no ice with the Pakistani diehard fanatics. He said in the Parliament that if India is talking to China why not to Pakistan. He has to understand that Sino-Indian conflict dates back to the British colonial rule over India and so does the Indo-Pak dispute over Kashmir. Pakistan has been a close military ally of the Anglo-American Block via CENTO, SEATO, and Baghdad Pact etc. for several years. China has been anti-military alliances. The two disputes cannot be equated.

It will be noted that while Farooq Abdullah repeatedly speaks of India initiating Kashmir talks with Pakistan, he deliberately brushes aside some fundamental realities. He never admits that the original cause of Kashmir dispute is Pakistan sponsored tribal attack on Kashmir in October 1947. He never says that the real disruption of peace in Kashmir is to be found in the change of stance by Sheikh Abdullah in 1953. He does not speak of Ziau’l Huqq’s Operation Topac for Kashmir. He never talks of his hobnobbing with KLF people in London and Mirpur. Moreover, he does not tell us the result of the mission of his emissary, a former minister and MP, who had been shuttling between Srinagar and Islamabad for a long period of time during his tenure. What was that emissary’s observation and why does ot Farooq disclose it.

Now lately Farooq says that Kashmiris are waiting for China to come and rule over them. He adds that he is not comfortable in India and would like to live in China. As an individual, he has the right to live anywhere he likes. If he chooses to go to China and live there, the people of Kashmir will find good riddance. They will forget him within weeks. Perhaps his departure and stay in China will be facilitated by Rahul Gandhi source who is a common friend of the two. It would be much in the interests of the people in the valley to learn from Farooq Abdullah’s experience of how nicely the Chinese are handling the Sunni Uighurs in Xinjiang which Pakistani and Saudi Arab leadership have appreciated. Farooq could suggest the government of India to follow the example of China in treating Kashmiri Muslims identically with China’s treatment of Uighurs. If Farooq can make that contribution to his people in Kashmir he will steal a march over his father in popularity and service.

Comments are closed.