How BJP by blaming PDP for the ‘mess’ has exposed its own failures in Jammu and Kashmir
Srinagar, June 20: The moment the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) joined hands to form the coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir in 2015 after the Assembly election results in the terror-ravaged state threw up a fractured mandate, critics called it an "unholy alliance".
Back then when the BJP decided to be a part of the coalition government with the PDP, which is diametrically opposite to its core ideology, supporters of the saffron party hailed the "friendship" as a "masterstroke" by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah.
Now, on Tuesday when all of a sudden the BJP decided to pull the rug from under former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti's feet, supporters of the saffron party once again termed the step as a "masterstroke" by its political masters in Delhi.
In between 2015 and 2018--a good three years--Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed an unprecedented rise in terror-related activities, deaths of army personnel and civilians and stone pelting incidents, especially after the killing of Burhan Muzaffar Wani, the commander of Hizbul Mujahideen in July 2016.
A few months after Wani's killing, in September 2016, the BJP regime at the Centre decided to conduct surgical strikes against militant launch pads across the Line of Control in Pakistani-administered Azad Kashmir.
The hawkish Kashmir policy of the Modi government yielded no results. The surgical strikes, which the BJP government tried to portray as one of its biggest achievements to foil Pakistan's continuous policy of sending terrorists to the Valley, proved to be a dud bomb.
According to an RTI reply, between January 2012 to February 2018, 1,563 terrorist attacks took place in the Valley, in which 132 civilians died. According to the ministry of home affairs data, the highest number of terrorist attacks, 342, took place in 2017 in which 213 terrorists were killed, followed by 322 attacks in 2016 and 222 in 2014.
The highest number of civilian deaths took place in 2017 when 40 residents died in violence-related incidents, followed by 28 deaths in 2014 and 17 in 2015. The security forces also endured heavy losses in Kashmir as between May 2014 (since the Modi government came to power in Delhi) to May 2017, casualty of army personnel increased by 72 per cent, according to data compiled by the South Asia Terrorism Portal.
As the Modi government always remained adamant to follow what they called "Doval doctrine" (named after National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and which stresses on taking a hard stand on Kashmir to eliminate terror activities totally), the figures are a reminder that "muscular policy"--as said by Mufti after she lost her coveted CM chair--won't work in Kashmir.
Those who have been studying and understanding the Kashmir issue said talks with all the stakeholders, including local Kashmiris, separatists and Pakistan, can't be stopped if India is serious about solving the Kashmir cauldron.
The situation in the Valley went out of control in the recent times when the Centre decided to announce ceasefire during the holy month of Ramzan. The ceasefire of army operations proved counterproductive as terrorist attacks and killings in the Valley increased multifold.
On the eve of Eid, noted journalist Shujaat Bukhari was killed by unidentified gunmen near his office in Srinagar recently. The assassination of Bukhari proved to be the death knell for any hope of peace and normalcy in the Valley.
Before the "divorce" between the BJP and the PDP, Union home minister Rajnath Singh announced the abrogation of the Ramzan ceasefire and restarting of army operations in the Valley.
On Tuesday, at a press meet in the national capital where the BJP announced that its alliance with the PDP became "untenable", actually it unknowingly exposed its own failures in Kashmir.
In the entire press meet, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav, the "architect" behind the "unholy alliance", blamed only Mufti and the PDP for the mess in the state, forgetting that his own party was also a "partner in crime" in the Valley.
From the very beginning the BJP had no concrete Kashmir policy. Most of it was based on jingoism and anti-Pakistan stand. But to run a government, the BJP needs sensitivity and empathy towards the local people, which its leaders badly lack, especially when it comes to Kashmir as they see the Valley through the prism of Pakistan.
While its "Hindutva" agenda helped the saffron party to spread its roots in Jammu, mostly dominated by Hindus and Kashmiri Pandits, in the Valley, the BJP was always looked upon with suspicion because of its history of being anti-Muslim and anti-minority party.
The BJP did talk about its now "infamous" vikas (development) mantra in Kashmir too. But on the ground there was hardly any development in the state, thanks to regular violence and curfews.
The Modi government's policy of giving total control to the army and refusing to talk with various stakeholders were also something that choked the Valley. While Mufti was accused of being soft on stone pelters, separatists and Pakistanis, the BJP's machoism also flopped in Kashmir.
The precarious alliance was always doomed to collapse, but it was the BJP which first announced the divorce giving it once again a moral high ground in front of its core Hindu voters in Jammu and the rest of the country.
As the Lok Sabha polls are scheduled next year, the BJP is trying hard to depict itself blemish-free from its "Kashmir misadventure" which is nothing but misuse of the Valley and violence to score political brownie points.