T h e

K a s h m i r

T  e  l  e  g  r  a  p  h

Vol I Issue XI

A Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

March 2003

I N S I D E


Spotlight 

Romeet K WATT

 

Comment     

A B Vajpayee

 

Column     

S Chaulia       

                   

View Point      

Romeet K WATT

 

On Track     

Romeet K Watt 

                  

Opinion

Kanwal Sibal

 

Analysis

Sawraj Singh

 

State Craft

Subhash Kapila

 

Perspective

T R Jawahar

 

Last Word

Anil Narendra 

 

                            


 

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V I E W   P O I N T 

Mufti Sayeed, the real test is ahead!

Romeet K WATT


One thing conundrums most observers, who keep an eye on the turn of events in Kashmir. How is Mufti Sayeed able to accomplish the impossible, when it comes to dealing with the Deputy Prime Minister, L K Advani. Take for instance, the release of pro-Pakistan separatist leader, Syed Shah Gilani.

New Delhi had made it amply clear in the past that no mercy shall be shown to Gilani, who had once described militancy in Kashmir as a ‘holy war’. No doubt his poor state of health was what eventually facilitated his release on parole, but then, believe it or not, it required a lot of persuasion on part of Mufti Sayeed to bring round Advani to ‘green signal’ his release on parole.

If the last 100 days of Sayeed’s government is any indication, the CM has had a smooth sailing, with the C.M having his say on most of policy matters. Whether it was his decision to do away with POTA, or his contentious decision to disband the Special Operations Group, he has faced little or no resistance from any quarter whatsoever, not even the main opposition party, National Conference.

Moreover, to make things further trouble-free for his government, there have been no major militant related incidents (except for the attack on the Raghunath temple), which could have put him on the back-foot, in particular vis-à-vis New Delhi. The present let-up in militant related violence has more to do with the winter months, when the level of infiltration dwindles rapidly, affecting their overall operations in the state.

Come spring, and the degree of infiltration will show an upsurge, and would indubitably upshot in an increase in militant related bloodshed in the state. The melting of snow also does provide militants safe havens in the higher ridges of the Pir Panchal range, which during the winter months is out-of-the-way, due to extreme inclement weather.

That would be the period of time, when the PDP-Congress combine would be tested to the hilt. One major incident, and it can snow-ball into a major issue at the national level. Don’t forget that elections to over half-a-dozen states would be around the corner. Furthermore, any major incidents in J&K, are surely going to be used as a vital ingredient by BJP (indirectly through Sangh Parivar outfits) for its renewed nationalism mantra.

In such state of affairs, whatever conciliatory gesticulations, New Delhi has shown towards the new regime, would for sure turn into hard-line postures, which without qualm is going to make things knotty for Mufti Sayeed and company. With little or no support from the Centre, it is going to be rough days ahead for the coalition combine in the state.

If indications that are up-and-coming from the corridors of power in New Delhi are any sign, a large segment of the BJP is in opposition to holding any dialogue with the separatists elements in the Valley, at this stage, lest they point out that such a conciliation would deprive the party of using a tactical weapon against the Congress party, which would be battling out the BJP in some crucial states.

BJP, on its part is leaving no stone unturned to corner the Congress party, and thus, should the need arise, is surely going to charge the Congress of adopting soft-line towards militancy in J&K. One section within the ruling party at the Centre, however wants to make use of ‘Kashmir issue’ only as a last route, that is, if anti-incumbency, issues of good governance, and other local issues, are not seen making the necessary impact for BJP.

Sayeed is well aware of this dangerous situation, which is evident from the fact that he has time and again said that the situation in Kashmir should not be made an election issue. Sayeed, reliable sources have confirmed, could not make much headway with Advani on the issue of proposed talks with the separatist bandwagon, and also the elected representatives on the legislature. Advani, it is widely believed, seems to have second thoughts on the issue, with stakes high for the BJP in the forthcoming assembly elections.

The up-coming session of the J&K state legislative assembly would be an interesting one, and it remains to be seen what position the main opposition party, National Conference is going to adopt toward the ruling combine. Should National Conference launch an all-out attack on the ruling combine for some of its conciliatory gestures towards the cessationist elements, which is perceived in some quarters because of a tacit understanding between Sayeed and some of the separatist organisations, it could set the pitch right for the BJP to take-up the issue, and use it against the Congress in the forthcoming elections.

Given that BJP has tasted success in the state elections in Gujarat on its new mantra of Pakistan bashing, and extreme posturing on terrorism, it is more than likely that Sayeed is going to come under fire from BJP for some of his controversial decisions, which have not gone down well with RSS, and more specifically VHP.

Should there be an escalation of militant related violence in Kashmir in the coming months, which is more than likely, we might just see an element of antagonism creeping in the relations between PDP-Congress government, and the BJP-led government in New Delhi. National Conference, which is a part of the National Democratic Alliance, despite having highs and lows in its relations with its alliance partner, BJP is crucial in its strategy to corner Congress.

The well-known disparagement of Farooq Abdullah towards the Congress party might just entice National Conference to launch a scathing attack on the PDP-Congress combine in the up-coming J&K assembly session, which would serve as a fodder for the BJP, should they decide to make use of ‘Kashmir issue’ in the assembly elections.

Sayeed Sahib, when winter is around, spring is not far behind, and I can bet my bottom rupee, it is not going to a pleasant one!

    

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