Proud bearers for Tiranga; no pallbearers for dubious politicians in Kashmir

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JAMMU: When a young bearded local Kashmiri told media persons at the historic Lal Chowk, Srinagar on July 23, 2022 afternoon that the Kargil bound Tiranga rally from Ghanta Ghar was a slap on those claiming that no one would raise the Tricolour in Jammu and Kashmir, the reference was obviously to former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
“If special rights and privileges to the people of Jammu and Kashmir are tinkered with, then there would be no one in the state to hold the tricolor”, Mehbooba Mufti had warned on July 28, 2017 in her capacity as Chief Minister, ironically in coalition with the BJP. It is different that the alliance had been tailored by the saffron party to create an environment for achieving its political agenda of abrogating Articles 370 and 35A, knowing well the whimsical politics of the Peoples’ Democratic Party.
The Kashmir based so-called mainstream political parties are fashioned in tagging Jammu with the Valley when the objective is nefarious to create controversies and to indulge in India bashing but when it came to the rights and aspirations of Jammuties during their rule, they discriminated against them unabatedly. Jammu had not given any attorney to Mehbooba Mufti for not raising the Tricolour, which they love more than their lives. She got a bitter taste of her overstatement when her party office was targeted and Tiranga installed on October 24, 2020 for her reiteration that she won’t raise the Indian flag until the flag of Jammu and Kashmir State is raised.
Mehbooba Mufti struck again a day before and raised questions over the collection of money by the UT administration for the Har Ghar Tiranga campaign. “The manner in which the Jammu and Kashmir administration is forcing students, shopkeepers and employees to pay for the national flag to hoist it is as if Kashmir is an enemy territory that needs to be captured. Patriotism comes naturally & can’t be imposed,” she said in a tweet, forgetting that it is a nationwide campaign and not exclusively meant for the Valley. The mindset is poisonous.
Anyway, will the leaders like Mehbooba Mufti ponder after the launch of Tiranga Rally from the heart of Srinagar City? The numbers of the locals might not be large enough but the fact that people had come from Bandipora, Budgam and Shopian discounts the claims of the former Chief Minister that there will be no one to hold the tricolor in Kashmir. That’s that.
After being thrown out from the corridors of power in 2019, Mehbooba Mufti misses no opportunity in maligning India and its institutions. She demonstrated the lowest depths of her politics by calling Ramnath Kovind a BJP stooge precisely the time he was demitting the apolitical office of the President of India. The people of India, however, are not surprised over such uncivil remarks emanating from a person having held the constitutional position.
By indulging in India bashing rhetoric, the mainstream leaders of Kashmir take cozy comfort in the thought that this must be endearing them to people in Kashmir. In fact, they feel elated over negative publicity in India for their near anti-national observations. The more the Indians question their nationalistic credentials, the more they feel their job done in the mistaken belief of becoming relevant to Kashmir politics and creating constituencies for themselves. They and their media managers encourage negative publicity, especially in the local media, as they don’t want to be projected or seen as nationalists in Kashmir politics. This is why there was no enthusiasm over the observations of Yashwant Sinha during his Srinagar visit on July 9, 2022 as the opposition’s Presidential candidate. Sinha had observed, “All our people who’re present here, including Farooq Sahab, Mehbooba Ji, no bigger patriot in the country than them. If these are not patriotic, then none of us have the right to claim patriotism towards our country”. For sure the politicians concerned must have cursed such an unsolicited tag. This is against their political agenda when out of power. They want secessionist and separatist elements to believe that they were not against their cause. Some of these leaders are on record having stated that gun toting youth were fighting for the cause of their nation (Kashmir)–an open endorsement of Jihad. Despite their desperate attempts to create space in Kashmir politics, the dubious politicians stand exposed for their opportunism and lust for power. People know they can go to any extent in desperation of power. The Valley is well versed with political chameleons, which is why heavy security bandobast remains a prerequisite at the graves of the most popular politicians of the yesteryears.
Kashmir politics is a case study for political analysts. One of the lessons for the students of politics is that there may or may not be pallbearers for dubious politicians but there will surely be flag bearers to hoist the Tricolour. Srinagar’s Lal Chowk is the latest case in point.