Bangalore, Aug 13: Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's strange act of raking up the 2002 Gujarat riots when his own state is witnessing a dark phase has proved his effectiveness as a ruler. Abdullah, a descendant of a famous political family from Kashmir, was seen in his helpless best recently when panchayat members of his state were being put at gunpoint by terrorists. Many were killed while even more decided to quit.
And now, Abdullah, in the wake of violence in Kishtwar, is counting bodies on the basis of religion and diverting attention to the 2002 pogroms in Gujarat. Is this how the leader of the Congress-National Conference coalition in the state carries his Raj Dharma, a term often heard in connection to the 2002 riots?
Abdulla's five years of rule have been nondescript at the best. Governance has been far from satisfactory, delivery on development and civic expectations has been woeful and not to forget the mounting corruption. The coalition partners are mostly at loggerheads with each other and the decline in the democratic institutions and massive allegation of human rights abuses in the state point out that things are not healthy. The CM, however, was more upset to see Bollywood movie Yeh Jawanai Hain Deewani not giving credit to Kashmir for its shots.
When an ugly violence grips the sensitive state, Abdullah finds great wisdom in communalising and politicising the issue by giving a body count on religious basis and counter-asking whether the Gujarat home minister had quit in the wake of the killings in 2002. Is Abdullah more worried with the right-wing Opposition than the security of the people of his state? If that is the reason, then one must say that a sensitive state like Kashmir requires a more responsible chief minister.
It is more shocking to witness that even when Pakistan is relentlessly violating the Line of Control in the state, the political leaders of India are not ready to come together and restore peace and harmony. The over-dependence on muscle power to resolve such crisis exposes the political capacity of the leaders, who only know passing the buck at the time of adversity. Other parties are seen treating the matter as conveniently as they can.
Omar Abdullah under pressure
Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah has been under pressure over the violence in Kishtwar.
Army personnel patrol a street during curfew in Jammu on Monday. The curfew has been imposed by the authorities in view of violent protests over Kishtwar clash.
Police stops members of the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Assocaition who tried to stage a protest march against the Kishtwar clash at Lal Chowk in Srinagar on Monday.
Security personnel guard near Raghunath Temple during a curfew in Jammu on Monday.
Police arrest activists of Muslim Khawateen Markaz during a protest march against the Kishtwar clash, at Residency Road in Srinagar on Monday.
Army and security personnel patrol curfew area after violence broke out during a protest against Kishtwar comm
Police charge protesters during the Jammu bandh called in protest against the Kishtwar clash, in Jammu on Saturday.
Omar Abdullah has let Kashmir down
Security personnel keeping a tight vigil at a market during Jammu bandh called in protest against the Kishtwar clash, in Jammu on Saturday
Army personnel patrol a street during curfew in Jammu on Monday.
Police charge protesters during their Jammu bandh called in protest against the Kishtwar clash, in Jammu on Saturday.
Jammu and Kashmir policemen patrol at closed Raghunath Bazar during a strike called in a protest against Kishtwar clash, in Jammu on Saturday.
Jammu and Kashmir minister resigns
Jammu and Kashmir MoS state Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo after tendering his resignation over Kishtwar violence, in Jammu on Monday.
Union minister P Chidambaram said that India won't allow the situation to go back to 1990. Rhetorics are good for ears but are those in power really acting in a responsible way to ensure that the situation doesn't escalate? The Indian state will be in for a massive challenge if internal disturbances in the state multiply parallel to the external aggression. Did Omar Abdullah not have a second thought before he tweeted about body counts and Gujarat riots?
The government must ensure that rumours and propaganda don't contaminate the atmosphere. Instead of trying to control communication, it is essential that the government calls for more democratisation to clear the air of suspicion and lack of clarity.
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The secular elements of the polity have not played their true role at this moment by trying to conciliate between the differing voices. Instead, they are busy finding a common communal enemy and diverting the attention from the local administration's failure. The right-wing forces neither had any business to raise a cry over the safety of the 'minorities' at a critical moment.
The entire political-administrative response machinery has been rendered ineffective amid the propaganda war over the Kishtwar violence. The divisive play must end somewhere.