RAJ DALUJAJAMMU: Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi and his ‘gang’ of the opposition leaders have a reason to be annoyed over largely controlled situation in the Valley post amendment to Article 370, repeal of Article 35A and reorganization of the once ‘princely’ State of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories. There has been no loss of life and this is something that must be worrying the lot, who embarked on the Kashmir sojourn yesterday only to be packed back to the national capital-lock stock and barrel. What was actually the intent of Rahul Gandhi and company behind Kashmir visit? This is rather a baffling proposition, especially as his troupe included some ‘like-minded’ media persons who could have disseminated the concocted ‘ugly’ scenario, had they been allowed inside the Valley. Dejected, depressed and virtually annoyed Congress scion summed up his failed and foiled Srinagar visit by taking to twitter, “It’s been 20 days since the people of Jammu & Kashmir had their freedom & civil liberties curtailed. Leaders of the Opposition & the Press got a taste of the draconian administration & brute force unleashed on the people of J&K when we tried to visit Srinagar yesterday”.
Are we media persons above law?Are we above law? This is a question every media person should ponder over. Nowhere in the world have they any special rights, which common citizens are not entitled to. Media persons too derive their rights to know and reveal under ‘freedom of expression’, guaranteed in most of the democracies world over.Yesterday, the Srinagar Airport Drama saw some media persons, accompanying the entourage, complaining about denial to capture Rahul Gandhi team on lenses. An accompanying media person from a reputed electronic channel created a scene at the airport by provoking and daring the security staff to prevent her from taking photographs. Even a child could make out the motivation behind the drama. Ironically, this all was being filmed despite prohibition and still a hue and cry was being raised about alleged ‘misbehaviour’. The media person must have definitely heard the announcement inside the aircraft about prohibition on photography at the airport. One can understand the desperation of the Opposition but why should media persons make hue and cry on something prohibited. Are they so naïve not to understand that photography is prohibited on Srinagar Airport, being sensitive from defence point of view? Not now but for decades, announcements are being made by the crew in each flight, cautioning against photography. The Congress might be taking political mileage out of the ‘reported incident’ involving media persons but the latter should now allow themselves to be known as ignorant about rules in vogue, especially at Srinagar Airport. The Congress lost no time in trumpeting the complaint of scribes in a series of tweets, claiming, “”Reports are coming in of media persons being aggressively handled by the Srinagar police and blocked from meeting with Opposition leaders delegation. We strongly condemn these draconian measures against the media.”
Will anyone remind Rahul Gandhi of his visit to Mumbai on February 5, 2010 when the entire commercial capital of India was put under siege to ensure his so-called ‘public outreach’. That fateful day in 2010 witnessed the Mumbai Police in its full strength engaged in Bandobast duty with arrests, detentions and crackdowns on sporadic protests reined in the Shiv Sena’s black-flag agitation in parts of the Mayanagri. “It looked like the city was under the reign of Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini”, Udhav Thackeray, then Executive President of Shiv Sena, had said. To ensure the dynasts safe movement across the city, the Congress government in Maharashtra had arrested 342 Shiv Sainiks including 114 women protestors under Section 135 of the Mumbai Police Act. The entire Mumbai had witnessed crackdown that day just for the Congress ‘prince’. Nine years after the Mumbai siege, does it behold appropriate for the Congress leadership to comment over Kashmir scenario. As a so-called national party, don’t they appreciate the sensitivities involved unless the agenda is to provide ‘fodder’ to rogue Pakistan to hammer India through Indians? Islamabad has turned out to be strong support base for the Congress leaders and obviously so because they are obediently carrying out the diktat. They are terming Indian security forces as ‘brute force’ and the administration as ‘Draconian Administration’. Such comments find prominent space in Pakistan media and ammunition to their diplomats.
The Congress is peeved over 21-day Kashmir shut-down. What about the months’ long disturbances during the Amarnath land row agitation triggered by inept government led by Ghulam Nabi Azad. How many young people died, both in Jammu and the Valley during that agitation and who will be accountable for that?
The Congress led opposition is shedding crocodile tears over the preventive detention of some ‘so-called mainstream leaders’ including three former chief ministers but will they tell to the world how the Valley behaved during 2010 unrest and 2016 violence post assassination of terrorist Burhan Wani. They must come clean over the killings under the Congress partnered coalition government headed by Omar Abdullah as Chief Minister.
It was the then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who had justified the 2016 killings by saying, “Had a kid gone to buy a toffee from an army camp? A 15-year-old boy who attacked a police station had he gone to buy milk?”
Congress scion must do some sort of introspection if at all he is interested in keeping his party’s flock together. He has lost his way on the face of successive failures in politics. Governor Satya Pal Malik has rightly observed that by making a ‘tamasha’ of his visit to Srinagar, Rahul Gandhi was actually playing politics post his invite to him, which he had made in good faith. The people of Kashmir should also ponder over the intentions of their so-called sympathizers, especially as no loss of human life has been reported during the past three weeks anywhere from the Valley. The merchants of destruction in politics want to spill the blood of innocent. The present dispensation in Srinagar is not perhaps inclined to oblige them.
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