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OPINION | Revocation of Article 370: J&K People Won, Politicians Lost

A Kashmiri cycles past a barricade set up as road blockade as a paramilitary soldier stands guard on the first anniversary of the Centre’s decision to revoke J&K’s special status, in Srinagar, on August 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

A Kashmiri cycles past a barricade set up as road blockade as a paramilitary soldier stands guard on the first anniversary of the Centre’s decision to revoke J&K’s special status, in Srinagar, on August 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Dar Yasin)

Kashmiri leaders cannot hoodwink people anymore by saying “Jai Hind” in New Delhi and preaching secessionism in the Valley.

Regional parties in Kashmir have been mourning the revocation of Article 370 and bifurcation of erstwhile J&K state for the past one year. The leaders of these political formations in the Valley are trying to create a notion that “everything has been lost”.

But the truth is that they are not so upset about J&K losing its special status. What has perturbed them is that they have been left with nothing to sell and have lost their bargaining power.

The politics of regional parties has revolved around selling illusions and dreams to the people. From 1947 to 1953, there was no internal problem in Kashmir. Till then, the only dispute between India and Pakistan was Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) that was illegally taken by our rogue neighbour.

In 1953, National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, in order to project himself as a “tall leader”, started cribbing about the so-called disputed status of J&K and shifted the dispute to this side.

Till August 5, 2019 the regional parties in Kashmir were treading the path shown by the late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. These parties have been responsible for not allowing Kashmir to prosper. After Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah was jailed for preaching sedition and separatism, leaders like Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad and GM Sadiq got an opportunity to serve their people. Their tenures are considered as golden periods in the history of Kashmir as their sole aim was development, peace and prosperity. Even today people remember the works done by these rulers.

Unfortunately, the leaders who followed in the footsteps of the National Conference founder wreaked havoc in Kashmir by sowing the seeds of discord and disharmony. They succeeded in fooling the people for many years, but when the people of Kashmir realised that the leaders in whom they had reposed their faith cheated them, they started punishing them by staying away from elections.

These so-called leaders during the past 30 years have just managed to secure five to 10 percent votes. They won the elections due to New Delhi’s support and blessings. Otherwise, they had no political footing. Eccentric approach of the Kashmiri leaders dismantled democratic institutions in the Valley and pushed people towards poverty and despair.

One can gauge their selfishness and eccentricity from the fact that even during the Covid-19 pandemic, they are busy making their profiles to seek attention from the world. They seem least bothered about the suffering of the people. During the past six months, they have not even uttered a word to seek better health facilities for the people.

Abrogation of Article 370 has to be seen from the prism of New Delhi as it was a national issue. The special status had deprived J&K of development. People of the erstwhile state were unable to get benefits of various centrally sponsored schemes which were announced during the past 70 years. Women who married anyone from outside J&K lost their citizenship and property rights. There were many loopholes in this article and it had serious ramifications.

People who are on the payroll of the Centre should bear in mind that they are non-entities and cannot decide the strategy. To abrogate J&K’s special status was New Delhi’s call and Kashmir-based leaders had nothing to do with it.

Common Kashmiris need facilities and good governance, but the leaders who led them during these years never paid any attention towards the wants of the people. They just raised hollow slogans and misled the masses.

The bold decisions which have been taken during the past one year by the central government have made it explicitly clear that stability cannot come in J&K till the people understand that no power on earth can snatch J&K from India.

During the past one year, people of Kashmir have understood it and have moved on with their lives. The leaders who used to sell dreams stand exposed and cornered. The conflict managers should understand that they have no role to play and they are Mr. Nobodys in this bigger picture.

Instead of working for peace and harmony, Kashmir-based leaders are disturbing peace, which is one of the main reasons for 4G internet services not being restored in Jammu and Kashmir. They are propagating their own personal agenda through social media, including Twitter. Their acts have put security agencies in a big fix. Their immature and vindictive tactics have put common man into a quandary. Their brand of politics revolves around giving pain to their own people and by disturbing the Centre.

If one dwells deep into the events that have taken place during the past seven decades, it becomes clear that these politicians misused their power and stature. They leased out entire state land, including forest land, in Gulmarg, Sonamarg and Pahalgam to their kith and kin, and their family friends.

They looted Kashmir with both hands. They have no right to take a moral high ground and talk about Articles 370 and 35(A). Their governance model was a complete failure. They did business in the name of democracy in Jammu and Kashmir and kept the conflict alive to serve their own interests. The track record of Kashmiri politicians has remained dismal as they did nothing during their tenures. We never heard that these leaders strived to set up universities and hospitals during their tenures. Their narrative just revolved around falsehood and deceit.

New Delhi in the coming days has to ensure that these so-called leaders and conflict managers are kept at bay, to bring peace and prosperity in J&K and the most important factor is to handle cross border terrorism.

Kashmir-based leaders should realize that they cannot hoodwink people anymore by saying “Jai Hind” in New Delhi and by preaching secessionism in Kashmir.

Disclaimer:The writer is a former journalist and chairman of the Kashmir Youth Alliance. Views expressed are personal

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  • First Published: August 6, 2020, 6:41 PM IST
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