National Conference (NC), the old wine of the Kashmir valley has only aged, but not well. Undoubtedly, they shaped the modern history of the Valley and the contribution of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, its late founder, in crafting Jammu and Kashmir’s political history. But unfortunately, sometimes, it is hard to fill in big shoes; after Mr. Abdullah’s death, the top leadership of NC stumbled.
Today in 2019, after 87 years of its foundation, NC has been reduced to a flapping fish, running out of the water. From spending the entire tenure of 2009 to 2014 on the back of Public Safety Act (PSA), Omar Abdullah was heard cribbing around the air in south Kashmir, “if voted to power, PSA revocation will be ensured.”
As evident in the graffitis of Downtown, Srinagar, the Gen-Z holds a strong opinion that transfer of power to Mr. Abdullah’s son was effectively the beginning of the destruction of the Kashmir valley.
Rather than the utopian world, what the state got under Farooq Abdullah’s tenure in the 1980s was: corruption, extremely poor governance and the stifling of democratic institutions of Kashmir. The same son of Abdullah family was heard shouting from the West Bengal’s ‘stage of unity’, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is destroying the democratic institution of India and went on to say, “We have to come together to put up a one-to-one fight against it. We should fight together to strengthen our country.”
Allegedly, the same son’s ‘misplaced’ game for the throne in the 1987 J-K assembly election paved the path for the gun in the Valley; it not only destroyed the credibility of Kashmir’s valley’s democratic institutions but froze the, supposedly, cake walk ahead.
But, alongside NC’s motive, Indian National Congress (INC) fueled the spark, and both of them together lay down the foundation of Kashmir is today. They definitely have shaped the Kashmir’s modern history.
The state’s constitutional autonomous status, under the article 370 of Indian Constitution, has been one the most sacrosanct commandments. Considered to be sacred by each citizen of the J-K, which accounts respects of our unique cultural, social and religious diversity. Unfortunately, however, the trio of Congress–NC-PDP have politicized the issue for electoral gains. While the INC is directly and solely responsible for the dilution of Article 370, NC, especially under Mr. Farooq & Omar Abdullah is also responsible for turning a blind eye to the rupture of Article 370.
When seen in this light, the recent utterance of Mr. Farooq, wherein he promised to bring an “autonomy resolution” within 30 days of coming to power is nothing more than a non-serious political gimmick and part of buffoonery antics.
Didn’t he pass the similar “autonomy resolution” in J&K assembly in 2000? What happened to that resolution? Well, that resolution was rejected by the then union government in which junior Abdullah was a minister. Did Mr. Omar resign from the union ministry to protest against the rejection of the resolution at that time in 2000? No, he did not do so.
He continued to enjoy the perks of power till 2002 when he supposedly tendered his resignation to “protest” against Gujarat riots. However, according to commonly held belief in the then political circles, he actually resigned due to the refusal by Vajpayee led central government to appoint his father, Farooq Abdullah, to the post of the Vice President of India.
But questions don’t stop here! Both, Mr. Farooq Abdullah and INC need to answer for their long list of follies in the Valley. Will INC apologize for the issuance of more than 40 “presidential orders”, most of which happened under the rule of Congress Chief Ministers; effectively eroding the Article 370, and rendering it completely rudderless? Will INC do that?
Will Mr. Abdullah explain why he abandoned Kashmir in 1990 after facilitating the entry of gun-culture in Valley? Will he apologize to thousands of his own party workers — from lower party ranks and poor families — who were left alone in the Valley vulnerable to violence; that too when Mr. Abdullah (and his family) enjoyed his sojourn in foreign countries remaining absolutely untouched by death and destruction happening in Kashmir? Will he explain that?
Well, given the fact that top leadership of the NC has strong family and friendly ties with top leaders of INC, which the state-confined party sees as the unofficial permanent alliance partner, given the fact that INC has been largely responsible for disembowelment of Article 370. Why doesn’t Mr. Abdullah, or his son, Omar, for any matter, along with the top central leadership of INC hold a press conference and assure the people of J-K that (instead of passing useless “resolutions”) they will restore the autonomy of the state to the fullest if they come to power? Will they do it or will they restrict themselves to playing with vulnerabilities of the people? I think J-K already knows the answer.
Javaid Beigh is a political activist and has worked as Public Relations Officer to a former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister.
The views expressed here are author’s own.