DOST KHAN / ANCHOR
JAMMU: Release of National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah from 222-day detention can’t be just a decision based on security assessment by Jammu and Kashmir Administration or the Centre’s response to joint appeal made by National Congress Party led opposition. There is much more than meets the eye. It is a clever move and purely a political decision, bearing brand Amit Shah Imprint.
The decision might have brought some sort of storm in the tea cups of mainstream leaders in their cozy drawing rooms but the people in Kashmir are quite indifferent. It hasn’t excited anyone in the Valley if social media is any indicator of public mood. Detention under PSA of Farooq, Mehbooba, Omar trio and company was a non-issue for Kashmiris the day Article 370 and Article 35A were repealed and the State bifurcated into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh. No tear rolled down any eye. There was no chest beating. Similarly there will be no excitement over their release either.
New Delhi knows this harsh truth of Kashmir. Home Minister and his aides know the relevance of the so-called mainstream in the Valley. Therefore, the release process of power-politicians should be seen in the context of the recent changed political equations.
Post August 5, 2019, the Valley has awoken to a new political configuration. Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party is staring at the Valley’s political landscape. Its founders and leaders have opened up their political cards. They want statehood to be restored to Jammu and Kashmir, obviously minus Ladakh. They have reconciled with the reality of special status gone. They want to move on.
But can the National Conference move on with the baggage it has accumulated for the past more than six decades over the issues of Article 370, Article 35A, Autonomy and restoration of pre-1953 position of Jammu and Kashmir?
Farooq Abdullah might have traversed a cautious step after stepping out to freedom from his Gupkar residence in the wake of revocation of PSA slapped on him but can he afford to shed the baggage of his own creation. Perhaps he would but political compulsions will not let him do so. The mild posturing after release is just punctuation and not a full-stop to what he and Kashmir’s joint mainstream resolved in ‘Gupkar Declaration’ (a document of venom and provocations) released hours ahead of their house arrest on August 4, 2019.
Detention of 222 days has made Farooq Abdullah wiser and a bit cautious politician, who has learned to weigh words. He was quite choosy about the verbose he used while interacting with media persons and refused to speak on any political matter till son Omar, Mehbooba Mufti and others are released. He wants to raise the voice of people in the ongoing session of Parliament. This is precisely the limited agenda he has set for himself for the time being.
However, the political churning going on will not let Farooq maintain his cool and composure for long. He can’t resist the ‘provocations’ once hawks in the National Conference meet him in Srinagar and Narendra Modi bashers encircle him in the national capital. That is precisely when he will burst and rant about Article 370 and other contentious issues, much against his liking though. He will be reminded of the core National Conference agenda, revolving around Article 370. Forced by the circumstances, the moment he rakes up these issues, the newly constituted J&K Apni Party will pounce upon him like Bakshi Ghulam Mohammed did to Sheikh Abdullah. This will be the beginning of tug-of-war and war of words. Farooq Abdullah’s intensity of words will get rebounded with matching responses. The scenario thereafter will be as per the Chankayan narrative. It will be arguments and counter arguments. It will be a tussle between birds of the same feather.
There will be no role for either New Delhi or the ruling BJP. No wonder the new political combination in Kashmir will push the politicians like Farooq, Omar and Mehbooba to wall. For certain they will find themselves on the side of the fence rehabilitated by Pakistan sponsored separatists during the past thirty years. In the new political alignment, therefore, those opposed to Pakistan or separatists’ line are bound to desert the so-called Kashmir mainstream, comprising National Conference and the PDP to get rehabilitated in the greener pasture of the J&K Apni Party. A trend has already set in and now it is wait and watch.
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