Kashmir Politics On The Twin Edged Bayonet

Kashmir Politics On The Twin Edged Bayonet

13 October 2013
The New Indian Express


New Delhi: Kashmir’s political parties have discovered a General-sent opportunity to attack the Army and New Delhi after V K Singh claimed that the Army was paying certain ministers to carry out ‘certain works’ in the state. This has only made separatist groups happy finding a convenient stick to beat both the National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party. Separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, said: “The Army on its own has admitted what I have been saying for last 50 years. All pro- India politicians are on the pay roles of army and other agencies and they are being paid for legitimizing the Indian rule.” Ironically, Geelani has been reportedly receiving enormous funds from Pakistan to continue his secessionist movement. Meanwhile, red faced confusion prevailed in J&K main political parties. Though usually the NC assigns its additional general secretary Sheikh Mustafa Kamal the job of attacking either New Delhi or the Army, this time around it was the party chief and union minister Dr Farooq Abdullah who alleged that the state’s agriculture minister Ghulam Hassan Mir named in the Army’s audit report, had taken its help to defeat his brother, Kamal, in the 2008 Assembly elections. The party passed a resolution seeking a judicial probe against General Singh. NC’s coalition partner, Congress remained a mute spectator to the bedlam. Assembly speaker, Mubarak Gul, a close Farooq aide, first stated that he will “write a letter”. Then he changed saying, he will see “whether to summon Singh or not” and lastly, he said: “he will issue summon at an appropriate time”. As NC came under criticism for not setting a time-period for the summons, Kamal was back in business. He accused General Singh of helping PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Syed to become the chief minister in 2002. He claimed that before the 2002 Assembly elections, the general had called an important meeting of army officials and had invited Syed to attend. The PDP won the 2002 elections and formed a coalition government with the Congress. “The strategy to wipe out National Conference from the political scene was chalked out in the meeting. If you don’t believe me, ask PDP member, Iftikar Hussain Ansari,” he said, adding: being a commander at Awantipora in South Kashmir, General Singh assigned the job to scores of army officers who rigged the elections. Kamal said the PDP was trying to shield Singh as it fears that he might open a ‘can of worms’. The recently formed Awami Itihad Party (AIP) joined the chorus. Concerned about what he thinks is growing role of army in growing mainstream parties, AIP chief Abdul Rashid said: “PDP cannot deny that Usmaan Majeed a close associate of the Army and a renegade was a Cabinet minister during the PDP reign.” He alleged that even the NC had elected two former government gunmen to the Upper House of the Assembly to ensure that it continued to enjoy the Army’s blessings. The PDP’s attack on the Army is subtler but has targeted the Centre for fiddling with the democratic institutions in the state. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said, “Unfortunately since 1947 NC has been changing its stand and this has given a reason to the Centre to believe that Jammu and Kashmir politicians become trustworthy only when you pay them money or you bring them into power by rigging or by accord or by accession.” While the NC and PDP have attacked the Army and New Delhi to cater to their vote banks, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who in the past had held several rounds of talks with Government of India pointed his finger at the credibility of the elected governments in the state. “It is now clear that whosoever is installed by Delhi to rule the state right from Sheikh Abdullah to the present day, has to be hand in glove with the Army establishment. In fact they have to follow their diktat, and further their objective and agenda,” he said. Farooq has visited Pakistan many times to discuss the Kashmir issue.