The “Peoples’ Democratic Party” was formed during the worst ever oppression seen by Kashmiris in the nineties. The main thrust of the party was to reach the suffering people in different parts of the valley and try to give some succor to them.Mehbooba Mufti had made it a point to visit the home of every victim of violence. She used to console the relatives of the victims. She even regularly visited the homes of slain militants. Many a times she participated in protests and demonstrations against the wanton killings by the security forces. In a number of photographs she is shown holding placards saying, “Stop the killings”! In fact, during the first tenure of Mufti Sayed on her initiative a number of measures were taken to give some “Healing Touch”. The notorious “Task Force” was disbanded. Harassment of youth was lessened and the nocturnal raids were discontinued by the security forces. A number of bunkers were removed from different places in the city. However, in spite of the “Healing Touch”, there were still incidents of killings and harassment.
Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s famous quote of solving Kashmir problem within the bounds of Humanity (“Insaniyat kay dairay main”) appeared to be taking some shape! The “Cross LOC Bus” for relatives on two sides was started. Trade between two parts of Kashmir commenced. As a goodwill measure, there were some exchanges of traders between the two parts of Kashmir which gave good signs of a sub-continental thaw! There seemed to be some movement forward on the PDP’s Agenda of the so called “Self-Rule”. However, the completion of the “Healing Touch” and the realization of the so called “Self-Rule” remained unfinished as the Congress refused to concede PDP’s demand to allow Mufti Sayed to have a full tenure of six years and Ghulam Nabi Azad became the Chief Minister as per the terms of coalition agreed upon way back in 2002 when the two parties cobbled up an alliance.
The PDP which along with the Congress defeated Farooq Abdullah’s NC that had won the election with an absolute majority in 1996 was alleged by some to have been propped up by Delhi with massive financial and other assistance. It is alleged that the rule of Farooq Abdullah had become very infamous globally due to massive corruption. Moreover, allegedly Delhi considered Farooq Abdullah to be unstable and untrustworthy especially after the passing of the Autonomy Resolution in the State Assembly. The Congress-PDP coalition itself was finally swept away by the 2008 Amarnath land agitation.
Farooq Abdullah with his style of an expert demagogue and the master of histrionics went back to the people for another chance. The people did give him another chance but not Delhi! They forced him to crown his son Omar Abdullah in spite of his own declaration of being the next Chief Minister of the State. Omar Abdullah’s rule was a total disaster especially because of the 2010 Intifada resulting in killing of 120 youth by trigger happy security forces and his alleged connivance in the hanging of Afzal Guru. The rule was finally swept away by the worst natural disaster of the century with a comic ending of the Chief Minister throwing Bananas to the marooned people from the State helicopter, giving him the epithet of a “Banana Chief Minister”!
In the meantime, Delhi had been swept by BJP and RSS. Incidentally, Narendra Modi whom Google had put in the category of the ten top most criminals of the world became the Prime Minister. Incidentally, recently he has been put in the category of the most stupid Prime Ministers of the world! Kashmir had been devastated by the worst flood in a century which had left the capital city of Srinagar in particular, in total shambles. People needed immediate succor and rehabilitation. Had the Central government been sincere towards the people of Kashmir they would have postponed the elections and directly taken in hand the rehabilitation and restoration process. However, they perceived it to be the best opportunity to realize their “Kashmir Agenda” which they had been pursuing since 1947.
A massive political assault was mounted on Jammu and first time inroads were made into the Kashmir valley. This Hindutva intrusion alarmed the people of the valley and a wave to resist the onslaught was generated. PDP led by its dynamic ground leader Mehbooba Mufti spear-headed the campaign for halting the Hindutva intrusion into the valley. For the first time millions came out to vote with the sole aim of keeping the Hindutva Brigade out of the valley. They gave the largest number of seats (28) to PDP. All BJP candidates except one lost their deposits. People expected PDP to take a determined stand against the Hindutva wave. However, the reverse happened. Mufti Sahib disregarding the popular sentiment tried to bring the North and South Poles together by hugging the Delhi bear. He gambled with the idea of “Development” for which, the “Healing” Touch had to be replaced by the “Kneeling Touch”! True to a Kashmiri parable, the “Kakun Haaput”, the Delhi bear fatally mauled him.
Mehbooba Mufti having seen the fate of her father hesitated and dithered but was forced by some of her party colleagues to hug the Delhi bear even if it meant giving a “Kneeling Touch”. The immediate result has again been disastrous with the Delhi bear going berserk and fatally mauling innocent people left, right and center. NIT events and Handwara happenings are just a beginning. The worst may be still to come. However, the extreme alienation of the new generation giving rise to a new wave of militancy with common masses coming out openly in support of the militants suggests that it is not going to be honky, dory for the fanatic Hindutva Brigade of BJP and RSS to realize their long pending Kashmir Agenda! On the contrary, unless they rein in the trigger happy security forces, they may light the fuse for an unprecedented upheaval which may go beyond the borders of Kashmir!