On Sunday, Chief Minister while addressing the convocation at University of Jammu, urged the Centre to “continue its support to enable the state to provide best opportunities to youngsters and create an atmosphere to nourish their talent.” “For me, Jammu and Kashmir 2.0 is fundamentally about providing the best opportunities to the young people of this state and creating an atmosphere in which their talent can be nourished,” Mehbooba said at the convocation ceremony. Later in the day, addressing a youth convention of her party, she again talked a great deal about what her party has done and intends to do for the state’s youth. Terming youth as a priority of her government, the Chief Minister said both PDP and BJP joined hands to get Jammu & Kashmir out of its miseries besides providing youth a whole lot of opportunities of employment. “Youth of the state have got appreciation all around for their wit, intelligence and creativity, but unfortunately they have been caught up in an acrimonious situation of violence, and taking them out from it is the prime objective of my government.”
So very impressive! While these speeches of the Chief Minister were still being packaged into news items for publication on various media outlets, news came in about the Army gunning down three civilians – all young men – in a Shopian village following a brief shootout with the militants in which a militant was also killed. Obviously it was these gruesome killings that captured headlines, pushing the Chief Minister’s speeches into the back burner. Also because her assertions may or may not be true, her promises may or may not become a reality, but the tragedy that has fallen yet three more families in south Kashmir is real – as real as death always is.
No, this is not a debate about the news; what is actually being said is that something is terribly amiss, brutally wrong in how her government thinks and deals with the situational realities in Kashmir. Her government is completely out of sync with how New Delhi perceives and deals with Kashmir. Her government and the ones holding the state’s strings in New Delhi are clearly working on cross-purposes. This is why even when she uses jobs and development talk as bait to try and woo Kashmir’s youth away from violence, the agencies taking orders and patronage directly from Delhi do whatever it takes to push them back to violence, again and again, and without any fail …. First civilians are done to death, and then reasons are concocted to justify them. And when it fails, both law of the land and basic human decencies are undermined to bail out the accused!
It is time that Mehbooba Mufti goes back to the drawing board and does some basic calculations about her politics. She can choose to not disturb the apple cart, and then hope that people will forget everything and forgive her by the time of next elections. Or she can go back to the person she was once when she was building her political capital brick by brick by siding with the traumatized and victimized lot. Procrastination is not always a virtue, and certainly not in political situations which are a matter of life and death for the recipient population.
All the anger and alienation in Kashmir, which very frequently outpours on the roads and streets here to blow up and incinerate all her developmental work government has been, and claims to do with the hope of reaping dividends of peace, is there because certain players are refusing to change their mindset vis-a-vis Kashmir. The irony is that they want the people to believe that they can bring ‘peace’ to the troubled Kashmir without actually conceding anything to the people of Kashmir! It is this arrogant complacence that is the real culprit and obviously those responsible for having made it into a state policy are equally blameworthy.