Having emerged as a strong regional force, PDP is construing its victory in Lok Sabha polls as a vote for Kashmir’s secession from India.
The comprehensive defeat of the pro-autonomy National Conference (NC) and its unscrupulous ally, the Congress, and the massive victory of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the just-held Lok Sabha (LS) elections was taken by most of the people in Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) to mean the opening of a new chapter in the history of the relations between New Delhi and the State. In fact, this electoral verdict was interpreted by many as a great political development in the troubled State that, according to them, promised politics based on sound democratic and economic issues. But, sadly, it was not to be. The PDP that won all the three Kashmir LS seats hands down, instead of appreciating the nature of the national mandate, construed its victory as a vote for radicalisation of the Valley or a vote for the Kashmir’s secession from India.
How else should one interpret the statements being made by top leaders of the PDP almost every day during public meetings, to the media, including even the Parliament? Indeed, the PDP is turning more and more radical with each passing moment. Its whole objective is to arouse communal passions in the Valley, polarise society, capture as many seats as possible in the 87-member J&K Legislative Assembly, form next government in the State and use the power to de-link J&K from India step-by-step, if not at once.
Ever since its formation in 1999, PDP, like the NC, used to air views to drive Kashmiri Muslims away from mainstream politics. However, it was after May 16, 2014 – when it was declared victorious—that it started opening its separatist cards in a more brazen manner to communalise the Kashmir’s political scene and promote its break-India agenda. Between May 17 and till date, some top PDP leaders, including the party ideologues, repeatedly expressed themselves against Indian political system in their own typical manner, making it loud and clear that it wants the State Power not to discharge its constitutional obligations towards the people of J&K and the Indian nation as a whole, but to exploit it to the hilt to subvert the Indian State both from within and outside. This may appear a strong observation, but it is a fact.
Speaking on the motion of thanks on President Mr Pranab Mukherjee’s address in the LS on June 10, PDP president and MP Mehbooba Mufti urged New Delhi to declare Kashmir a “bridge” between the SAARC countries, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Maldives, and even China and Iran. Her suggestion was also coupled with two other specific demands — special session in LS on J&K issue and, a demand for a separate ministry for Kashmir affairs. She continues to bemoan even today the rejection by the LS of her dangerous suggestion and demands.
On June 28, PDP patron and its chief ministerial candidate Mufti Mohammad Sayeed declared in Kashmir that he wanted to form the next government in the State to achieve the larger objective. “The PDP’s agenda goes beyond good governance…The PDP looks to paving the way for a dignified resolution of Kashmir…Use of ballot is the only way out of Kashmir imbroglio,” he said while addressing meeting of cardholders from Pulwama constituency (Kashmir).
On June 24, president of PDP youth wing Waheed-ur-Rehman urged the people of Kashmir through an interview to give his party 44 seats. He said, “PDP is working on self-sufficiency and Hurriyat is working for self-determination. If we get a bigger mandate this time, and if we are able to pull up all 44 seats, we will resolve the Kashmir issue,” he said.
On July 9, PDP ideologue and one of the chief architects of the self-rule document, former J&K Bank Chairman, Mr Haseeb Drabu repudiated the NC’s autonomy doctrine and said, “What is our battle about? It is about ethno-nationalism…The autonomy document is more about federalism and self-rule goes beyond federalism. Autonomy is from the Government of India. But, it is the self rule document that seeks autonomy from the nation state of India.”
What these four PDP leaders said were not off-the-cuff remarks. These were all well-thought out statements and were made with a purpose as explained above. It would not be out of place to mention here that there are elements in the pro-Pakistan Hurriyat Conference (Geelani) and highly radical Jamaat-e-Islami who are favourably inclined towards the PDP. It is time for New Delhi to act before it is too late.
We are not a banana republic!
-Hari Om (The writer is former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Jammu)