Lt. Gen Prakash Katoch
Farooq Abdullah, National Conference (NC) chief held a meeting of representatives of six J&K political parties at his residence on Gupkar Road on October 15. He announced formation the ‘People’s Alliance’ seeking restoration of Article 370 as it applied to Jammu & Kashmir prior to August 5, 2019. The meeting was a follow-up of what is known as the ‘Gupkar Declaration’ on August 4, 2019 signed by J&K political parties less the BJP at the residence of Farooq Abdullah a day before Article 370 was revoked. On October 15, Farooq said the signatories will also fight for the rights of Ladakh and with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) head Mehbooba mufti at his side, announced, “We will meet again”.
Earlier, Farooq had made a seditious statement in a TV interview saying he hopes that Article 370, abrogated last year, will be restored in Jammu and Kashmir “with the support of China”. He has displayed his true perfidious character by seeking China’s support while China has mounted an aggression in Ladakh. This statement by Farooq seeking Chinese aid for the restoration of Article 370 and Article 35A was even slammed by the leader of J&K Congress.
Morality is not in the lexicon of many politicians but cases like Farooq are those who have enjoyed chief ministership of the state for many years courtesy the Centre but have worked against the unity and integrity of India. Even though J&K had a constitution earlier, it was well within the ambit of the Constitution of India. Yet Farooq and Co want to go against the decree by the President of India for reasons not very difficult to understand.
There is no denying that Pakistan has been able to sustain terrorism in J&K because of the intimate involvement of leaders of the NC and PDP also assisted by the Congress in certain instances. Farooq Abdullah deliberately disregarded the attacks and intimidation of Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) that led to the ethnic cleaning and exodus of Kashmiri Pundits from J&K, even as Farooq was holidaying in London. Why the Supreme Court on two occasions did not accept petitions to order and inquiry into the ethnic cleansing of the Kashmiri Pundits indicates the power of forces inimical to India. For the same reason it is surprising that a parliamentary probe was not ordered? Is it purely because of vote bank politics or is it to accommodate mutual skeletons? Farooq had even made a statement that people of J&K doesn’t consider they part of India.
Farooq was never for resisting cross border terrorism. Addressing an international audience in Delhi as Chief Minister of J&K in year 2000 a foreign officer asked him why a buffer zone has not been created along the Line of Control (LoC) by shifting the villages away since J&K has enough land. His evasive reply was that he had asked the Centre for Rs 100 crore to shift the first village adjacent to the LoC.
As for the PDP, it has been winning elections with direct support from the Hizbul Mujahideen based in POK. It may be recalled that when the PDP won elections in J&K, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed (Mehbooba’s father) publicly thanked Pakistan sitting on the dais next to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This was the same Mufti Mohammad Sayeed who as Union Home Minister in 1989 allegedly organized the abduction of his own elder daughter Rubaiya Sayeed to facilitate release of JKLF area commander Sheikh Abdul Hameed, Ghulam Nabi Butt, younger brother of the convicted and hanged terrorist Maqbool Butt, Noor Muhammad Kalwal; Muhammed Altaf anf Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar.
Terrorism became an industry in J&K courtesy the NC, PDP and the Hurriyat with Hurriyat Conference head Syed Ali Shah Geelani in direct communication with Pakistan’s foreign office and the ISI. These politicians lived lives of luxury, acquired properties abroad and educating their wards in foreign countries who then migrated to Europe and US. Keeping terrorism alive and sucking funds for themselves including financial packages from the Centre to curb militancy became a routine affair with the Centre succumbing but often obliging. Till recent years, J&K was getting 10 percent of all aid given by the Centre to the states despite J&K having one percent of India’s population. Influx of narcotics, weapons and terrorists into J&K were aided by these very rodents. Corruption broke all records, one example being the 2001 Roshni Act; Rs 25,000 crore land scam for which a CBI probe has been ordered by the J&K High Court.
What actions the Farooq Abdullah-led ‘People’s Alliance’ will take in future remains to be seen. But they will certainly want to stoke dissent and terrorism following the diktats of Islamabad and Beijing even if they do not boycott elections. The irony is that radical and terrorist support in just 5-6 districts of J&K even before formation of Union Territory of Ladakh has kept J&K and India on its toes – all because of the above mentioned politicians-cum-rodents who are happy to gnaw at the innards of India. Somehow the Centre has continued to tolerate this claptrap which is intriguing. Sri Lanka was able to crush the much stronger Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) having also air and naval wings and today the US and Russia are wooing Sri Lanka because of its strategic location and Chinese influence.
India needs to seriously review its J&K policy. Giving a loose rope to the Rodents of Gupkar implies the smaller fries will also keep flapping their wings to demand their own share of the pie. Witness a former Director General, Delhi Policy Group and former interlocutor for J&K saying, “As far as restoration of Article 370 is concerned, I don’t think the central government will be inclined towards it. On the other hand, some people have floated the idea of adding another section to Article 371 of the constitution by which some rights that J&K enjoyed might be restored. The one big point that emerges from Thursday’s (October 15) meeting is this. Those who said that the presidential order of hollowing out Article 370 would be met with universal anger and a sense of humiliation in the valley were not wrong.”
Incidentally, when a journalist questioned this DG Delhi Policy Group while holding that appointment about her frequent foreign visits, she said these were funded by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) but MEA denied any funding replying to query by the same journalist. Obviously the funds were coming from clandestine sources. Were this not the case why would she need to make a statement at this juncture? The fact remains there is no dearth of inimical forces within India that the Centre has been unable or lackadaisical to deal with. What would be the fate of Rodents of Gupkar say in China or Pakistan is not difficult to visualize. India has not even been able to bridge the sub-conventional deficit vis-à-vis China and Pakistan. It is time for India to review its policies vis-à-vis J&K earnestly. The recent largesse of 50 percent rebate on electricity and water bills in J&K reminds one of Ladakhis asking the question in late 1990s “did we go wrong in not taking up the gun?”
It is said that everything is fair in love and war but the same applies to politics; it is the end result that matters. In Mahabharata when Krishna asked Indra to ask Karan’s Kavach and Kundalsin alms, it could have been termed wrong but was correct in the larger interest. When we have no scruples on this aspect in other states, why the wrong precedence for J&K? Isn’t it time to shed the policy of appeasement and taking hard decisions to deal with the Rodents of Gupkar?