T h e

K a s h m i r

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Eighth Edition

A Kashmir Bachao Andolan Publication

December 02'



Romeet K WATT


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Sunita Vakil



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State Craft

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Total Recall

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View Point

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Side Lights

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Last Word

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L A S T  W O R D

Mufti: Between the devil & the deep sea

Romeet K WATT

"I wrote my novel, Mr Stone And The Knight's Companion, in Kashmir. I'd like to revisit it" - Noble laureate, Sir V S Naipaul


THE other segments of public opinion in Kashmir, have adopted an antagonistic approach to the PDP-led coalition government headed by Mufti Sayeed, which severely hampers the efforts of the ruling coalesce to arrive at a 'broad-based consensus.' If the statements of JKLF chief Yasin Malik, and former Chairman of All Party Hurriyat Conference, Mirwaiz Omar Farooq are any indications, the separatists are not only sticking to their guns, but also using every opportunity to take pot shots at PDP.


This makes the assignment of Sayeed all the more difficult, who has time and again - despite lack of enthusiasm from New Delhi - demonstrated resolute determination to give his 'holistic approach,' an honest try. His contention to set his own house in order first, ahead of actually going about unshackling the dreadlocks of the larger Kashmir issue, has despite reservations from the separatists, received benefaction from the people of Kashmir, in addition to the media fraternity in India.


Over the years, Srinagar's point of view seldom appeared on the Indian media horizon, but of late, the media does not seem to blindly follow the leads, and hints given out by the Home Ministry, but rightly takes an optimum view, something, which surely has gone well with the people of Kashmir. The diabolic attack on the historic and symbolic Raghunath temple, recently did as a matter of fact, make some mainstream Indian newspapers to switch over to the hard-line approach of the Home Ministry, questioning the soft approach of Sayeed towards militancy. A leading national daily despite having a strong Srinagar bureau, jumped the hard liner's bandwagon, when it front-paged the reactions to the Raghunath Temple attack.


Nevertheless, surely one cannot, and should not squarely blame Sayeed for the despicable act. One ought not disregard that last time, when the same place of worship was attacked in March, it was the BJP's coalition partner, National Conference at the helm of affairs. During the tenure of Farooq Abdulla, innumerable number of similar attacks took place all over the place, which coupled with the large-scale killings of minorities, especially in the Jammu region does show Abdulla senior in a very poor light.


Sayeed has a fundamental problem, grave one, which stems from his coalition - not with elements within the given dispensation - with separatists elements, who till yesterday provided him patronage, and clandestine support with the singular objective of sending Abdulla senior packing, have after making an appraisal of the prevalent situation, deciphered that they have no options, but to attack Sayeed, something which they believe is essential and fundamental to their survival as a political force.


It is in this context that one should observe the rhetoric of Yasin Malik, terrorist-turned-politician, who spends time these days in addressing public gatherings in the State, using the occasions to lambast Sayeed, and raise the larger Kashmir issue, something, which Sayeed is keen to keep under wraps, at least for the time being. The separatists belonging to Malik's school of thought believe that it is essential to attack any dispensation, Sayeed or not, to ensure that the separatist bandwagon does not become irrelevant. They are also increasingly worried about the effects that Sayeed's healing touch might have on the populace, and that should the therapy work, it may lead to an indifferent attitude of larger sections in Kashmir towards APHC and company in the future.


Sayeed is wisely keeping the contentious issues on the backburner, and has fittingly taken a principled stand to put the nuts and bolts in order before directing his energies to what the other sections want. But come what may, that is not acceptable to APHC and company who are adamant that Sayeed address the larger issue first on the priority basis, which in their opinion is the root cause of all evil. The contention of this school of thought in the separatist bandwagon is that Sayeed is making a grave mistake of treating the symptoms, rather than the disease.


Mirwaiz Omar Farooq articulated the viewpoint of APHC vocally in a recent interview to a news channel, when he stuck to the conglomerate line, carrying on and on with the same old rhetoric, demonstrating little flexibility, something, which is not going to help solve matters. On the contrary to expect his expectations to come true, would be taking things a bit too far. Despite being considered a moderate, his whole approach during the conversation was so combative; that one got the feeling that to expect any headway towards the larger Kashmir issue would not be pragmatic, at least in the very near future.


Still it goes to the credit of the CM of J&K, that despite all the provocation by the separatists, he refuses to join issue with them, but at the same time he is not taking any stand, which may contravene the working relations, PDP seems to have developed over the period of time - largely due to his vibrant daughter, Mehbooba Mufti. Nevertheless, PDP chief is adamant to get things done his way, which stems from the belief that the most effective cure - in the present circumstances - may not be drastic surgery.


Sayeed, to borrow an expression, is between rock and hard place or maybe, between devil and deep sea. Pick your choose. The indications emanating from Kashmir, confirm as true that the divergence in the stances taken by the PDP-led combine on one hand, and the APHC and company on the other hand, may create unforeseen problems for the government, and consequently the winter-chill coupled with icy rhetoric's may well make the weather far too inclement for one's taste. And, Sir Naipaul, in the mean time could make realise his cherished desire to revisit Kashmir in spring, or may be in summer, but let winter pass.

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