Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Uprising in Jammu - 3

Uprising in Jammu - 3

How the public representatives behaved.

When the PDP withdrew from the ruling coalition, fall of the state government was imminent. Some efforts were apparently made by the Congress party to rope in the National Conference but it cold shouldered the proposal albeit keeping the future options open. Both the Kashmir based parties have a constituency to address and this was the time to oppose not support. They clearly and decisively acted in the interest of their people back in the Valley.

Look at what the politicians from Jammu were up to. Print media quoting senior Congress leaders reported that money from Pakistan had bank rolled into the Valley resulting in cancellation of the land allotment order. Congressmen also reportedly accused their erstwhile coalition partner PDP of being anti-national by saying children of some of these leaders were allegedly carrying out subversive activities from abroad. Ironically, it was the 'anti-national' PDP which broke ranks with the 'nationalist' Congress, not the other way round. It took the two elected members of parliament from Jammu region some thirty days after protests had started in Jammu to meet the Prime Minister in connection with the agitation. They demanded removal of the Governor - a meek and insignificant way of showing solidarity with their constituents. They never sat in protest along side the people. Who then these so called leaders from Jammu were hoodwinking? Obviously, the people of Jammu region.

That is the difference between the respective leadership from the two regions. The Valley has its leaders while Jammu has only subservient politicians.

Aren't the leaders failing Jammu once again as they have been doing over six decades? Why then blame Omars and Mehboobas alone? Why demand the Governor's head who was barely a few days into his tenure when the order was rescinded. Did any of the ministers from Jammu region or any MLA for that matter, resign from the cabinet or the legislature on the land row?

Has the Sangharsh Simiti erred in boycotting the leaders from Kashmir?

I think yes, it has. No matter what they have done or were doing; the important point is when New Delhi is banking on the Kashmir leadership Jammu can't ignore them. Whereas protests and boycotts are perfectly justified in a democratic set up, dialogue too is an integral part of the same system. Mahatma Gandhi on number of issues and occasions boycotted the British but he never undermined the validity of a negotiation process. Moreover, New Delhi has a bigger hand in neglect of the Jammu region. Even the NDA government in which the Jammu sympathetic BJP was at the helm did nothing to initiate steps towards restoration of Jammu region's respect. Kashmiri leaders only took advantage of this apathy.

So far things have gone right for the people of Jammu. They have the Kashmiri leaders clearly on the back foot who appear relenting from their hitherto hard stand on the land issue. The main leaders from Kashmir have been standing their ground against the hardliners but now it appears slipping from under their feet as well. And surely, they would not like to fall flat. When things slip away from the mainstream they drift to extremes. And the fringe elements in any polity who are ever ready to seize the initiative have always behaved irresponsibly. High time the people spearheading the agitation in Jammu realised this. With this uprising the people of Jammu have made their point forcefully and effectively. Let them now negotiate the issues which by all means they would be doing from a position of strength.

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