Regional divide between Jammu province and Kashmir Valley is almost total. In Kashmir, all the essentially separatist outfits have joined hands under the leadership of deflated and out-on-the-limb Farooq Abdullah. It would not be politically incorrect if one may says that all Kashmiri outfits have merged their identities with what they styled as People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) whose immediate single-point agenda is restoration of pre-August 2019 position. The most significant aspect of the whole disturbing developments which took place on August 4, 2019; August 22 and October 23-24, 2020, at Gupkar Road, Srinagar, was the naked and blatant religious commitment to the divisive cause the Gupkaris resolved to promote and willful insults of Jammu province believing that people south of Banihal line (Jammu province) would ultimately fall in line and join their break-India crusade. They perhaps believed that their leading Jammu-based supporters would continue to behave and support them like they used to behave and support them in the past.As said earlier in these columns, these Gupkaris did to Jammu province what the so-called Messiah of Jammu, J&K BJP, utterly failed to do. The Gupkaris’ subversive politics, unsettling pronouncements and nasty formulations, coupled with their out and out pro-China and pro-Pakistan stance, united the people of Jammu province more than ever before. No wonder, Jammu witnessed some significant political explosions; Jammu asserted its psyche. Many outside the Congress, NC and PDP camps rejected with contempt all the Gupkaris and pledged to fight for separation from the oppressive Kashmir and achieve the status of statehood for Jammu province.
Regional Divide Total
However, it was on the historic day of J&K accession with India (October 26) that Jammu province witnessed two highly significant developments. One was the revolt of three founder members of PDP – former RS MP TS Bajwa, former MLC Ved Mahajan and former PDP secretary Choudhary Hussain Ali Waffa. They lambasted Mehbooba Mufti and said goodbye to her, charging her with outraging the national sentiment. If their resignation from the PDP indicated their anger of extreme nature against the politics, Kashmir-type, and suggested that the anti-Gupkar wave is sweeping Jammu province, what they said in their resignation letter was all the more noteworthy and inspiring. “We were feeling ‘uncomfortable and suffocated’ because of the actions and utterances of the party leadership (read Mehbooba Mufti) which are unpardonable and unforgettable,” they said. Even far more inspiring was what they said about Jammu province. They described Jammu province as ‘Beautiful Dogra State’. Underline it. What these three senior PDP leaders said and did was a befitting response to the Mehbooba Mufti’s October 23 highly obnoxious statement that ‘she would hold the tricolour only when the separate flag of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir is restored’.The second development was what NC provincial president Devender Rana said in Jammu two days after his meeting with Farooq Abdullah at his Gupkar residence on October 24 and after his participation in the Gupkaris’ meet that took place at the official residence of Mehbooba Mufti the same day. He, inter-alia, said, “The nation’s sovereignty and integrity are supreme. Jammu-based NC leaders expressed concern over Mehbooba Mufti’s remarks in our meeting with Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah”.It would not be out of place to mention here that Mehbooba Mufti is the vice-chairperson of PAGD or she holds number two position in the newly floated outfit. So far, Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah have dissociated themselves from what Mehbooba Mufti said. Besides, Farooq Abdullah has not shown the door to her. Earlier reports in a section of national media, claimed that ‘Jammu-based NC leaders, including Devender Rana, candidly told Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah during their meeting with them at Srinagar that the political and economic interests of the people of Jammu province will not be allowed to be compromised’ and that ‘no such statement should be made which has the potential of hurting the nation’s sovereignty and integrity’.It needs to be underlined that Devender Rana has been from time to time highlighting the woes of Jammu province, warning that no one would be allowed to jeopardise the legitimate interests of the people of the region and demanding an empowered regional council for Jammu province. During the past three months, he made at least four statements to this effect.All this only serves to prove that Jammu-based politicians of all hues, barring those belonging to the Sonia’s Congress, and Kashmir-based Gupkaris are pulling in diametrically opposite directions. It is also abundantly clear that there is no meeting ground between the two regions. To be more precise, the polarization between the two regions was never so sharp and bitter as it has been since August 2020, when the Gupkaris abused Indian Parliament and taunted people of Jammu province by giving them to understand that Kashmir was an imperial power and Jammu province and Ladakh were their colonies where the lives of the people was not one of political and economic aspirations but of toil and penury.What, then, is the final solution? Jammu province should be the sole preserve of people of this province and Kashmir should be the sole preserve of Kashmiris. In other words, two states – State of Jammu and State of Kashmir — and two CMs, one each from Jammu province and Kashmir.Let me conclude by quoting what former PDP ideologue Haseeb Drabu said only the other day for making life simpler for everybody in this part of the country. He asked, “Shouldn’t the logic of bifurcation be extended to trifurcation of the erstwhile State of J&K? It will make life simpler for everybody. Even as an Union Territory”.
Prof Hari Om
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