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J&K Governor's rule: BJP's "failure" to go ahead with 44-plus strategy

By Syed Mujtaba Hussian*
Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) continues to witness cataclysm of events ever since the killing of editor-in-chief of “Rising Kashmir”, Shujaat Bukhari, followed by the BJP’s deliberated parting of ways with its coalition partner, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and imposition of Governor rule.
The recent release of report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights seem to have caused panic in the BJP camp. In its response, India’s Ministry of External affairs termed the report as fallacious, tendentious and motivated violating Indian sovereignty. Army Chief General Bipin Rawat slammed the United Nations report on alleged human rights violation in Kashmir dubbing it as “motivated”.
Reacting to the official response from India, UN human rights commissioner’s spokesperson Rupert Colville said that they were “deeply disappointed” by the reaction of the Indian authorities.
Meenakshi Ganguly (South Asia director, Human Rights Watch), while reacting to the report, said, India should welcome the UN report, and commit to act on its findings, including providing access to the UN human rights office.
As a first step it should seek a repeal of the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act, as has been recommended by several international and Indian experts. It should order an investigation into alleged violations. Addressing grievances is what responsible governments are supposed to do. They don’t deny and blame the messenger. And they certainly don’t accuse the UN high commissioner for human rights of prejudice-, she said.
In the same back ground, the government banned over 30 channels in the valley, saying it had become necessary and expedient in the larger interest of public and maintenance of peace. Further Article 35-A (saving clause) is now subject to a constitutional challenge in the present petition by an NGO backed by BJP, before the Supreme Court.
Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman, Awami Action Committee, meanwhile, threatened that “any tinkering with the law will not be tolerated. It is a larger ploy to settle non-state subjects and dilute the identity of Kashmiris. We will occupy streets and mass agitation will be launched.” The Hurriyat leadership warned of mass agitation if any tinkering is allowed with the constitutional provision.
Former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti also told a rally in Srinagar that any tinkering with it would turn the state into a veritable inferno. The National Conference president Farooq Abdullah has also warned that his party won’t allow the Centre to fiddle with political status and honour of the people of J&K.
It has become a known fact that cases filled in the Supreme Court to challenge the demographic character of the state, have been done at the behest of BJP. It may be recalled that BJP had floated what was known as 44 plus strategy to come to power in the elections of 2014. Out of total of 87 seats of Kashmir, 46 are from the valley and 41 belong to Jammu Ladakh. The 44 plus strategy focused on Jammu, Ladakh and few seats in the valley. Now, when the BJP has direct control over Kashmir, it is trying to tackle the Kashmir situation in its own way, so that it can sell that during upcoming elections.
Kashmir has been used as an “experiment table” since last many decades.
The present status of Kashmir issue is a sombre reminder to the world that Kashmiri people are deprived of their fundamental rights. A muscle approach will make the things more worse, only proper dialogue can bring the peace in Kashmir.
---
*Human rights activist, observer of socio-political contexts of Jammu and Kashmir. Contact: jaan.aalam@gmail.com

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