National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah on Saturday said PDP was primarily responsible for the Centre’s shocking, hawkish stand on the situation in Kashmir at the conclusion of the All Party Meeting held in New Delhi.
As per an official statement Omar has expressed his shock and dismay at PDP MP Muzaffar Hussain Baig’s perverse anti-Kashmir tirade and stereotypical Muslim bashing at the All Party Meet. “It was Mehbooba Mufti who had set the tone for this narrative that aims to vilify and defame the people of Kashmir.”
“PDP was the only political party from J&K that was present in the All Party Meet – allegedly held on the Kashmir situation. It is therefore extremely disappointing that the party chose to ridicule and vilify the people of Kashmir and went to the extent of saying there should be no agitation by political parties against excessive use of force and pellet guns. Not only did PDP choose to tacitly support the use of excessive force in the Valley it also stooped to the extent of deriding those voices of empathy and solidarity at the national level that had been demanding the Central Government adopts a humane and political approach towards the situation”, Omar said.
The NC working president said it had become evident that PDP was reading from a ‘political script to suit a jingoistic, condescending narrative that stereotypes Muslims and also distorts the political issue in Kashmir as an alleged manifestation of radicalisation and religious indoctrination.’
“Whose interests is PDP trying to serve by distorting the ground reality in Kashmir? Towards what self-serving political goal does PDP want to insult and defame the people of Kashmir? Given how PDP has provided the Central Government with an opportunity to advance an inherently anti-Kashmir narrative, it is not surprising that the All Party Meeting turned out to be a cruel, practical joke with the people of Kashmir. People expected the Prime Minister to go beyond the traditional BJP line of talking to the alienated youth of Kashmir through Pakistan – but that is exactly what the Prime Minister ended up doing,” the NC working president added.
“PDP should know that the political sentiment in Kashmir is neither about (nor influenced by) ISIS nor a ‘revival of the Khilafat movement’ – as alleged by PDP MP and Vice President, Muzaffar Baig in the All Party Meet. The spurt in local boys – most of whom are educated and from affluent backgrounds – joining militant ranks has nothing to do with either ISIS nor the ‘revival of the Khilafat movement’. The root cause of growing alienation in Kashmir is New Delhi’s continued refusal to acknowledge that the issue in Kashmir is a political issue and its consequent refusal to engage with the people of Kashmir for a sustainable solution,” Omar added.
Lashing out at PDP for claiming the current situation in the Valley was a result of systemic religious indoctrination through Madrassas, Omar said, “Not a single local young boy who has joined militant ranks in recent months has come out from a Madrassa-based educational background – this fact itself exposes the fallacy of what PDP is trying to peddle for its own vested interests. Some of these young boys were toppers in the mainstream educational system while a few of them were meritorious students in professional college programs. What PDP is trying to do by distorting the truth is extremely dangerous and perverse,” Omar further added.
“For Muzaffar Baig to suggest that these young boys are becoming militants for ‘two sets of Kameez Pajamas’ is an indication of his party’s mindset – of how they look down upon the people and especially the youth of Kashmir. These young boys are not re-discovering the path of armed resistance for ‘two sets of Kurta Pajamas’ as claimed by PDP but for their political beliefs. While we disagree with their ways and methods and reiterate that violence is unacceptable, we cannot afford to ridicule and insult them and consequently push them further away from the system. Such contemptuous remarks from PDP – first from Mehbooba Mufti and now from Muzaffar Baig – are augmenting the anger and frustration in the Valley and that is a travesty,” the NC Working President said.
The NC Working President also expressed his disappointment at how the Central Government had turned its focus on the tried, tested and failed formulations of looking at the issue in Kashmir through the prism of Pakistan and radicalisation.
“The unrest in Kashmir is not because of Pakistan. While suggesting so might be politically expedient and convenient for the Central Government, it comes with the unimaginable risk of alienating the people of Kashmir to an irrevocable and irreparable limit. When that limit is breached, no amount of rhetoric or grandstanding will help. I’m dismayed that New Delhi has yet again refused to acknowledge the gravity of the already volatile situation in the Valley. This will add further fuel to the current unrest,” Omar added.