Uncalled for controversy

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Governor Satya Pal Malik’s statement that Mehbooba Mufti shouldn’t be taken seriously “as her party was breaking up and she was making comments against the government forces and India’s political system to save her party”, was strongly flayed by not only the PDP but former chief minister and NC Vice President, Omar Abdullah too. Governor’s statement had come in the backdrop of a statement issued by Mehbooba Mufti when she visited a Pulwama man at SMHS Hospital where he is being treated after allegedly tortured by the army. Mehbooba while reacting to Governor’s statement said that instead of taking cognizance of the brutality that the young boy has been subjected to, and ordering action against the culprits, the Governor is talking politics. Omar Abdullah too described Governor’s statement as an “unnecessary interference in politics” saying if the trend of issuing such statements continues, people will stop taking Raj Bhavan seriously.

This is not for the first time that Governor Malik’s statement has triggered controversy, it has been happening from the day one he assumed the office. He has been accusing the political class in J&K of indulging in corruption and has accused two main mainstream parties, NC and PDP, of indulging in double tongue. However, those were just generalized accusations but this time round the Governor was talking about a specific statement of Mehbooba Mufti wherein she had appealed Governor to intervene and find out why a Pulwama youth was tortured by the army and why the responsible army officer should not be dealt with under the law of the land.

In politics there are no saints. And what is happening in Kashmir, even when it is masked in the wrappers of ‘beneficent goodness’ is mere politics that is played by every single person on the basis of his or her self-interest. Those asking the people to vote do so because it suits their self-interest and those asking otherwise also do so because this is how they feel their interests and secured and served. Those who are scaring people by using a “communal scare crow” they have rediscovered in BJP after sharing power and privilege with it, know that their appeals to the people have not many takers here. But they nevertheless ask for public support and vote because it suits their self-interest. Those who claim they will take Kashmir’s fight to the Parliament also know it for sure that it doesn’t please many. But they still do it because of their self-interest. Those who look at ‘other’ person and group as being “compromised” and accuse them of weakness, vacillation, betrayal of ideals and surrender of principles, also do it because it suits their self-interest. Those who call someone an Indian or a Pakistan “agent” do it for their self-interest.

Having said that, the Governor’s recent statement doesn’t gel well with the ethos and history of Raj Bhawan in J&K. Mehbooba Mufti, as a responsible political leader of state was raising a humanitarian issue wherein she, as per her inputs, accused army of being involved in human rights abuses. The Raj Bhawan should have ordered an inquiry, find out the truth, and if Mehbooba Mufti would have been found on the wrong foot, the Governor’s office would have called her bluff. But nothing of the sort happened instead the Governor indulged in making counter accusations saying the PDP leader was doing so to garner votes in coming elections as her party was breaking up. This statement, for all practical purposes, was uncalled for and the Governor will do a great service to the nation, to J&K and to his office by avoiding such statements in future.

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