RSS Remark On 'Indianisation Of J&K' Makes Kashmir Parties See Red

18 November 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Arun Joshi

Jammu: The RSS and the BJP have strengthened the suspicions of political parties of Kashmir that the right wing groups are going overboard to upset the regional political supremacy and the demography of this only Muslim-majority state in the country with the declaration yesterday that 'there is an opportunity in 2014 to get back lost Kashmir and 'Kashmiriyat' (peaceful coexistence and tradition) into the mainstream'. RSS leader Indresh Kumar made this statement yesterday while launching a book 'Plight of Jammu and Kashmir- The Unknown Files' by Justice (retd) G D Sharma. Indresh, who along with BJP leader Subramanian Swamy released the book, said the time had come for the people of J&K to get 'industrialisation, education and Indianisation'. Kashmiri separatists and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party see in the assertion of the RSS and the BJP a 'design to saffronise' the state. Guiding force of BJP: RSS national executive member Indresh Kumar, who is playing a crucial role in getting the BJP accomplish its Mission 44+ in the state, on Monday declared that this election would help the BJP form a strong government in the state. Indresh is the main leader who is guiding the course of the party and the Sangh in the state. He had nurtured the RSS in difficult times when the militancy was at its peak from the late 1980s to 2000. Indresh knows the state like the back of his hand as he was also the 'prant pracharak' of the RSS for over a decade in the state and is well aware of the political and religious psyche of the people of the state. The state is widely seen as divided into three geographical and demographical compartments: the Hindu-dominated Jammu region, where the majority is proud of being Indians; the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley where 'Indianisation' is read as the RSS's basic philosophy and all Indians are considered Hindus; and the Buddhist-dominated Ladakh region. The most significant part of the RSS leader's declaration was when he said that 'Jammu and Kashmir has faced terrorism and separatism, and now the time has come to get 'industrialisation, education and Indianisation'.' Saffron 'threat': The connotation of 'Indianising' J&K is being read here as a threat by the right wing organisations to 'saffronise' the Valley. Politically, it is seen as an attempt to undermine the distinct Muslim and Kashmiri identity of the people in the Valley and elsewhere. Political parties of Kashmir are apprehensive that if the political ground is ceded to the saffron groups this time, it will become an irreversible trend. The Peoples Democratic Party, which is making a strong bid to form the government this time, has said that the BJP was playing a 'sinister' game. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti did not mince her words when she said on Tuesday: 'The RSS and the BJP are trying to implement their sinister agenda of saffronising J&K by consolidating the votes of one community and fragmenting the other. This is a very dangerous game.' Even the National Conference cadre is worried. Initially, the NC was hesitant about targeting the BJP in their election speeches, now its leaders are openly saying that the RSS and the BJP are making inroads into Kashmir with a design. Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani went a step further and asked all 'religious minorities - Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists - to boycott the elections to defeat the designs of the RSS and the BJP to divide the state on communal lines.' Polarisation feared: At the moment, the PDP is terming National Conference a partner of the BJP, but the fact is that there is a growing discourse in Kashmir that after the elections the two rival parties should find a common ground to stall the BJP's entry into the Valley. Many in Kashmir feel that the RSS's latest assertion on Kashmir would result in deep polarisation on communal lines. The separatists in Kashmir are already looking for this kind of opportunity. The state that has seen militancy for the last quarter of a century already has communal overtones in the election campaign for the 87-member Assembly, where the PDP in the Valley and Muslim-dominated parts of the Jammu region is on ascendancy, while the BJP is in a strong position in Jammu plains and is desperately trying to open account in the Muslim-dominated Valley. The BJP is aggressively wooing the Shia sect, Gujjars, Paharis and Kashmiri Pandits to register its presence in Kashmir. The RSS had been working hard in the Valley, where its cadre was active during floods and thereafter. Today, it is a strong voice, but by opening its cards in the manner in which it did - Swamy said that ex-servicemen should be settled in Kashmir - it would evoke a strong reaction. Both the NC and the PDP have vowed that they would not allow the state subject laws to be changed under any circumstances. Shah to reach Jammu today: Jammu: BJP president Amit Shah will arrive in Jammu on Wednesday to interact with party leaders and give impetus to the campaign. He will give final touches to the manifesto which is likely to be released on November 20. He will be accompanied by Union Health Minister and state affairs in charge JP Nadda. Sources said Shah would convene a meeting of the manifesto committee. The manifesto was likely to be released on November 20 if Shah approved it. The sources said instead of demanding abrogation of Article 370, the BJP would demand a debate on the issue.