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Mainstream leaders better weigh their words
1/11/2017 10:17:35 PM
S. Narinder Singh

Indian politicians are seldom serious about problems confronted to the people. Instead, they always hunt for some issues, big or small, to bake their political bread and derive mileage out of these. They have mastered in befooling innocent masses. Their utterings always convey dual meanings. They don't bother about the damage being caused to general public and country as a whole due to their inconsistent statements. Not only this, by issuing self contradictory statements, which never match their earlier stances, they lose their credibility as people are now fully aware of their political game plans and vote bank politics.
National Conference President Dr. Farooq Abdullah has recently evoked a huge controversy by extending olive branch to Hurriyat Conference. Everyone is astonished, over a person of his stature forgetting the sacrifices of his father Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, founder of NC who remained in jails for 22 years, to seek economic, social and political justice for people of the State. Moreover, He converted Muslim Conference into National Conference in 1939 and welcomed people, irrespective of caste, creed and colour. He achieved a distinction of being a real secular leader by raising the slogan, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Ithad.
As per media reports, Dr. Abdullah has asked separatist Hurriyat to remain united and has even extended his co-operation to their cause till their steps are on the right track without elaborating on the right track. He also talked about nation without clarifying what actually he meant.
Doesn't Farooq Abdullah consider himself an Indian national? The state of J&K has legally acceded to India and become part of it. Political issues like autonomy, more powers and concessions can be raised in view of the special status granted under the provisions of the Indian Constitution. It is, of course, intriguing that the Centre keeps changing their policies towards the state by imposing governments of their own choice. Similarly, the leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, especially those from the Valley, keep changing their colours like the weather of Kashmir as per their convenience. When in power they pretend to be ultra nationalists and once out of it, they totally change their course.
In Kashmir, Pakistan has been playing a sinister game to secede the State from India. The cult of terror, unleashed by ISI, is a low cost mechanism to achieve this dirty objective, which is being supplemented actively by anti-national elements as also the Hurriyat. So far as political solution of Kashmir is concerned, it was resolved from the time, as lately as in 1975 when Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah took over the reins of J&K under Indira-Sheikh Accord, I remember Dr. Farooq Abdullah after becoming Chief Minister visited Mumbai in February in 1983 and during his address to the industrialists at Chamber House, Church Gate, he said, "We are born Indians and will die as Indians. You have doubted my father also. If anything will happen tomorrow you will be held responsible for that." And the next day, Indian Express Mumbai, carried a report under the caption "Kashmir will go to Pakistan, Dr. Farooq" which he actually never said or meant. After publication of this report, black flags were shown to him by Shiv Sena when he was inaugurating a branch of JK Bank at Kalba Devi near Craft Market, Mumbai. On the same day, during the lunch at Hotel Taj with the Resident Editors of Mumbai Papers, the Editor of the Indian Express apologized for the wrong reporting.
Media has to play constructive role in nation building and should not believe in distorting the facts. Differences do exist between the party in power and opponents, but the political leaders should keep in view the national interest while criticizing each other publically. On two issues, I had the occasion to talk to Dr Farooq Abdullah on phone. Once, when he said, LOC should be considered as International Border. When I enquired about the change of his earlier stand whereby he was claiming POK as part of J&K and asked the Centre to liberate it from the clutches of Pakistan; and what message the people of POK will get after this statement? He told me, "India and Pakistan could not solve this issue for the past 70 years and we the people of the State have been suffering as a consequence. Hundreds of people have been killed. So far as the people from other side were concerned, once the borders are opened, people from both the sides will meet and socialize, things would be automatically better. I don't think there is anything wrong in this formula whether agreed by the Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee and Gen. Parvez Musharraf or not".
On many occasions, Dr Farooq Abdullah had asked the Centre to attack terrorist camps in POK and destroy them, as these were the real cause of unrest and instability in the Valley. "If by peaceful methods, we are unable to solve our problems what is wrong in adopting other means as it is not only the people of the state but also the entire country, who were suffering", he told me.
On his recent statement of 5th December, birthday of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, published in Times of India dated 6th December, with Srinagar date-time under the caption 'Farooq Abdullah extended support to Hurriyat' in their fight for freedom, Dr. Farooq Abdullah reacted strongly and denied what had been attributed to him.
I also sought clarification from Dr. Mustaffa Kamal about the statement of Dr. Farooq Abdullah, who also denied and advised me to read the papers published from Kashmir.
I have a reason to differ with Farooq Abdullah, if at all he has extended support to Hurriyat for freedom. Entire world knows that Hurriyat is an organization of separatists supported by Pakistan to create unrest and instability in Jammu and Kashmir. They have created scare among the people of the state, as a result Valleyites obey their dictates and hartals and strikes without uttering a word. It is different that demonetization has exposed them, as their channels of funding have dried up, which brought some sort of respite in the Kashmir situation. People have understood their game plan. Now the shops, offices and schools have started functioning. In this backdrop, some people analyze the statement of Farooq Abdullah as a gimmick to win the parliamentary seats from Anantanag and Srinagar. We know, National Conference is a historical movement and how much its founder was being revered by the people of Kashmir, who fondly called him Bab, Baba-e-Quom and Sher-e-Kashmir. Dr. Farooq Abdullah and NC cadre should follow his footsteps rather than playing to the galleries, he should ask Hurriyat Leaders to join hands with NC for restoring peace and prosperity in the valley and state as a whole.
Many fundamentalists' organizations and the state and national leaders have condemned the recent statement of Dr Farooq Abdullah whereby he openly asked his cadre to support Hurriyat which is an upper ground supporter of terrorist organizations and the root cause of unrest in the state. NC leaders from Jammu region are feeling embarrassed over this statement and are unable to face the people on the utterings of their leader who held the office of CM for three terms and was also a minister in the Union Cabinet. His son, Omar Abdullah too has been a Chief Minister and a junior minister in the NDA Government led by Mr Vajpayee. Therefore, the statement of Dr Abdullah, particularly on the birth anniversary of his father is really disturbing for his admirers.
Dr Farooq cannot undermine the contribution of Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah who was among the towering leaders of the country and a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad in the freedom movement. Sheikh Abdullah was an institution unto himself and his party is a history in the state, which has all along struggled for maintaining communal harmony, peace, brotherhood and secular traditions in the state. It is not understood in what context his statement should be taken, especially when he said that POK is not anybody's father's property? Knowing that Maharaja of J&K had acceded the whole, not part of the state with India. His controversial statements are being discussed by the intellectuals, columnists and common man with negativity.
Politicians may change their stands, ideologies or policies for the sake of playing politics, but they cannot jump the red-line and sound seditious or anti-national. Some section of the people claim that it is for the political gains i.e. for winning the ensuing MP elections or coming into power. But this objective should not be achieved by losing their credibility and becoming doubtful characters. There are other ways and means also. Dr. Abdullah and his party can win over the trust and confidence of the people of the state by highlighting drawbacks and shortcomings of the parties in power, which have failed to fulfill the promises made in their election manifestos and agenda of alliance.
National Conference can blame the present government for the unrest and sufferings being faced by the people in the wake of the killing of dreaded terrorist Bruhan Wani and by highlighting the unholy alliance of the PDP and BJP just for sake of power. Not only this, the present government has sanctioned an exgratia amount of Rs. 4 lacs in favour of elder brother of Bruhan Wani who was killed in an encounter with security forces for being Over Ground Worker of Hizbul Mujahideen.
Dr. Farooq Abdullah's recent statement, supporting Hurriyat's movement for azadi has given an opportunity to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to blame NC for fomenting trouble in Kashmir for the sake of power. She has also said that Dr. Farooq and his party can go to any extent for seeking power and was involved in attacking security forces camps, stone pelting and torching of schools for the last 3-4 months. It is for Farooq Abdullah to explain or educate what is going on in the valley.
The controversial statement by a seasoned politician like Farooq Abdullah is going to strengthen the cause of anti-national elements. In my opinion, it is not only Farooq Abdullah who changes his stand with regard to so called Kashmir problem but other parties like BJP also play the same role when they are out of power by raising the bogey of abrogation of Article- 370. When in power, they seldom talk about abrogation of this Article. I still remember Mr. Vajpayee saying in Jammu, "Article 370 samay ki zarurat hai (is the need of the hour)." Sometimes leaders are mum or change their earlier stands over serious, sensitive and important issues like Kashmir problem. PDP leader Mufti Mohammed Sayeed talked about self-rule, as if the government he led between 2003 and 2005 was not representing the political will of the people. NC wants autonomy and lately it has been pitching for political solution because of prevailing unrest in the Kashmir valley. The prevailing unrest in the valley is due to follies of political leaders and government at the state and at the Centre, as a result of which enemy Pakistan and ISI have been indulging in murkier waters. Hurriyat Conference, an over-ground sympathizer of terrorists unleashed by Pakistan, has optimally seized the opportunity to create unrest in the state. It is only for political parties to see whether promises made at the time of elections are being fulfilled or not. If their political fight is for that or other issues like maintenance of peace and other co-related issues which are necessary for the overall development and growth of the state can be raised and discussed. Now, plea of the mainstream parties to hold talks with stake holders for political solution, supporting talks with the stakeholders including Hurriyat is not a bad idea but supporting Hurriyat movement of Azadi goes against the political philosophy nurtured by Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah..
Dr. Farooq Abdullah who all along remained a true nationalist and pro-India leader from Kashmir like his father, should try to keep aloof from anti-national elements and remain cautious while issuing statements which give opportunity to his opponents to exploit his pro-India and pro-people image.
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