Former chief minister of J&K and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah | PTI File Photo
National Conference president and former J&K chief minister Farooq Abdullah | PTI File Photo
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Going by the low key celebrations in Kashmir after Farooq Abdullah’s release from 8-month detention, the old war horse of J&K would have learned a thing or two about the changed ground realities.

The Abdullah and the Mufti clans should learn to read the writing on the wall. Although, their parties, National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have limited options now, in it lies a great opportunity to revive their fortunes if they are able to integrate their views with the national mainstream.

Farooq Abdullah understands the change, and has refused to comment on the political situation until all other detainees are released. He has also expressed his wish to attend the Parliament of which he is a member.


Also read: ‘Work from home impossible with 2G net’ — Abdullah to PM as Kashmir faces COVID-19 lockdown


J&K has accepted new realities

After the dilution of Article 370, much to the disappointment of the Abdullah family, the people of the Union territory decided to accept the changes, rather than prepare for a long-drawn battle. The change in the status was explained by the Narendra Modi government as a necessity to maintain law and order, and keep a close watch on the emerging situation so that external forces do not take advantage of it.

Politics in J&K cannot be and is no longer the exclusive preserve of the Abdullah clan. From the time Sheikh Abdullah became member of the Constituent Assembly in 1946 to when his grandson became the chief minister, the family has ruled over J&K for nearly four decades. It was the opinion of this family and that of the Muftis that guided the fortunes of the erstwhile state since Independence.

Despite the members of these two families getting plum posts in the state and the Union governments, their views on converting the temporary provision of Article 370 to a permanent feature or distancing themselves from the centre, especially when they are not in power are common knowledge. This is one reason why the family’s incarceration evoked very little or no protest.

According to the Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy, no major terror incident has taken place since the dilution of Article 370 and J&K has reported only 79 incidents, comparatively very low.


Also read: Apni Party looks to dispel rumours about govt backing, set for launch on BJP turf Jammu


Co-operation is the only way forward

The centre would very much want the political process to begin in J&K, paving way for an election and an end to the central rule. This would be the right time for all political parties to participate in the process and strengthen the democracy. Dilution of Article 370 is a done and dusted deal. No political party can turn the wheel back.

The NC and the PDP are in reality family-run parties, very much like many other regional parties. The Congress has local leaders, but is also firmly anchored to one family. The Communist parties used to have cadre, but that is a distant past. The BJP, therefore, seems to be very well disposed to put up a fight on the basis of a bright and better future.

The political establishment in J&K will play a crucial role in shaping the security parameters. New Delhi’s strategy towards Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) and Pakistan’s behaviour will also be key guiding factors.


Also read: Farooq Abdullah meets Mehbooba Mufti’s family in Srinagar, party says it’s a courtesy visit


Abdullah’s Delhi connect

The Abdullah family has had a perplexing love-hate relationship with the “Delhi Dynasty”. In 1946 Sheikhh Abdullah launched the Quit Kashmir agitation against the then ruler of Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh. He was arrested and sentenced to three years in jail but released in 1947. Ironically, the sane Maharaja appointed his bête noir as Head of the Emergency Administration, post accession and Pakistan’s aggression in J&K.

Again, in 1953 Sheikh Abdullah was dismissed as Sadr-e-Riyasat (Prime Minister) of J&K and jailed by Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru only to be released in 1964. Ironically, Nehru sent him to Pakistan to negotiate with Gen. Ayub Khan on the Kashmir issue. Unfortunately, Nehru died in 1964 and successive Prime Ministers Lal Bahadur Shastri and Indira Gandhi put Sheikh back in prison from 1965 to 1968. The Indira-Sheikh Accord of 1974 changed the course of history, albeit for some time.

Post 1971, Pakistan resorted to exporting terrorism targeting J&K, mainly to de-stabilise the state and internationalise the Kashmir issue. The situation underwent a sea change in 2014 after the Narendra Modi government decided to look at the Kashmir issue with a perspective very different from that of the “Delhi Dynasty”. India has always maintained that J&K is its integral part and that Article 370, a temporary provision in the Indian Constitution, was its internal matter. But no government had the political will to dilute Article 370 which the Modi government did in its second term.

The social and political atmosphere in J&K has changed drastically. The detention of political leaders did not evoke strong reactions from the public except for stray incidents of protest in the initial stages. Abdullah’s and Mufti’s can’t miss this new reality. On all issues, be it the final and irrevocable integration of J&K with India, dilution of Article 370, regaining POK or national security and strategy, all parties need to be on the same page.

The author is a member of the National Executive Committee of the BJP and former editor of Organiser. Views are personal.

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VIEW COMMENTS

19 COMMENTS

  1. The family did not want the rest of India to have anything in Kashmir but was very happy being a minister and a parasite on the rest of Indians. He better stay quite or go to Pakistan.

  2. Better get used to the new normal. Kashmir is a part of India. The jihadi dogs are getting gunned down or worse. People of the valley better get used to living with Dharmics. The intolerant muzzies will be thrown out.

  3. Better get used to the new normal. Kashmir is a part of India. The jihadi dogs are getting gunned down or worse. People of the valley better get used to living with Dharmics. The intolerant muzzies will be thrown out.

  4. You can’t right wrong of fourty years,if government manages to turn things with people’s lives and bring prosperity to the region,and stop the hate mongering,and killing of innocent,I think people should give support to the government.

  5. In Farooq Abdullah’s silence, lies NOT his acceptance of new realities of Kashmir’s politics, It is the fear of past catching up, like in the case of Yasin Mallik.
    Every one who lorded over the ethnic cleansing actively or otherwise must be made to pay and that includes the ones responsible for inaction post the ethnic cleansing by successive administration in J&K.
    With the 370&35A gone the protection from facing the law has gone, besides there must be lots of questions to answer with respect to wealth created without a days honest work.
    At 80+ one should be looking forward to a peaceful life
    The article is politically correct but wrong in reality.

  6. He is a Dalal of New Delhi as was his father. He will do anything for his political survival. He has zero credibility in Kashmir. That is the truth.

  7. Time has come for even journalists and commentators not bother about Abdullahs and Muftis, just like common man of Kashmir but to look forward to a new political process there. Our focus should be on economic development of J&K and Ladakh, tight vigil on LOC with Pakistan so that terrorist do not trick in and initiatives on POK. We need to think strategically on how to integrate POK with India like offer them a unified Kashmir (without Jammu) as a a state under India Union on the basis of original Art 370 or plan for military action or negotiated settlement with Pakistan. It is quite possible that Pak will integrate POK in its Federation thereby ending the dispute and LOC can become IB. We can make noise about it but will have very little choice except to accept it. In any case, our focus should shift completely and we need to get over the hangover of old days. Let Abdullahs and Mufits enjoy their retirement.

  8. Where are the hindus of kashmir? The real kashmiris dont have a mic after 3 generations of genocide by muslims. Indian media is selfish in linking human right to occupying muslims of hindu kashmir

  9. I am sure Kashmiris are not starving because of internet being not their. Freedom of expression is fine, but life of common and innocents are more important than these first families of Kashmir. These 3 political families have literally ruined the Kashmir valley, driving out many from their home. They were also playing games with govt of India having one foot in Pakistan. Once you remove and isolate them, there exists possibilities of new leadership. Hope it will turn valley better.

  10. What is the new reality in Kashmir? Without internet, handicraft and tourism industries, the mainstay of its economy are completely dead. Starvation of 90 lakh humans is the new reality, and Farooq Abdullah is party to the conspiracy?

      • I have been waiting for this to happen for a long time. The sooner India takes it back, the earlier I can start my celebration with fire crackers and, food and drink.

      • I have been waiting for this to happen for a long time. The sooner India takes it back, the earlier I can start my celebration with fire crackers and, food and drink.

    • Thank you for your truthful stand Criminal communal shameless bigots will not like what you wrote

    • Thank you for your truthful stand Author belongs to a fascist anti Muslim anti Kashmir organization so his opinion about Kashmir is not credible at all

  11. Too sanguine a view. In any case, one octogenarian leader cannot bind all Kashmiris on so sensitive a subject. The new reality should convert into better times, at least economically, for all the residents of the Valley. That still leaves open the issue of restoration of legitimate political activity.

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