Centre Gives Mufti Free Hand To Tackle J-K Separatists

28 April 2015
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Arun Joshi

Srinagar: The Centre has given Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed a free hand to deal with separatists and deliver on his promise of creating a 'constituency of peace' in Jammu and Kashmir. After having realised that the situation in Kashmir was not a simple objective test, where saying yes or no would resolve issues overnight and open gates for peace, the Centre has left it to the Chief Minister to chart his own course, with a declared rider that 'there should be no compromise on the core issue of the national security', say sources. On the need for having good governance on the ground, the two are on the same page, sources told The Tribune. Separatists are a symbol of resistance to the idea of Indian sovereignty in Kashmir. By keeping them in jails, their theme gets strengthened that they were unable to air their views. Allowing them to speak out blunts their criticism and at the same time gets immediately contrasted with the people's real aspirations for having a dignified life, which doesn't come with slogans. This is what the PDP-BJP government is trying to prove. Addressing the problems of the people, from rehabilitating flood victims to rebuilding infrastructure to generating employment and changing the perception of Kashmir, Mufti has started working on the strategy to allow separatists to air their views in open, as long as they don't create a law and order situation or incite crowds. He has the April 15 rally in mind in which Masarat Alam, now booked under the Public Safety Act, incited crowds to raise 'anti-India slogans'. Separatists have nothing new to offer as far as their expressions are concerned. They revolve around 'the repression by the state and continuing with the struggle for freedom'. The common man in Kashmir - though a large section has a sentiment - is overburdened by his own day-to-day problems. This is where Mufti wants to step in. He has raised the pitch for development and is also asking for people's cooperation. Sources said Mufti was feeling 'more comfortable' in working with the BJP than he was with the Congress from 2002 to 2005. The BJP government at the Centre is interested in building bridges with Kashmir and there is a broader vision on bringing peace between the regions and also between India and Pakistan. The Centre realises this is the key to bringing peace to the Valley and has therefore left it to Mufti to chalk out a strategy.