Author: Saadut
•8:01 PM

While pro Delhi parties in Kashmir pinning their hopes on Modi as PM is no news (NC has even shared fruits of power with BJP in NDA), pro-Azadi leaders like Mirwaiz claiming ‘we have hope with Modi as PM’ and yearning for the ‘Vajpayee days’ does surprise. More disbelieving is when the Jamait-e-Islami Chief in Kashmir suddenly starts seeing a ‘holy and secular Modi’ if and when he comes to power in New Delhi. Not only does such political talk point to vision limitations of political parties in Kashmir, it also points at a lack of their own roadmap. For all his talk and inflated claims, Modi remains a cynical politician, who has grown into power purely by nurturing communal hate and religious divide in Gujarat. Under Modi, Gujarat became a perfect test lab for RSS by mass cultivating an extreme ideology, same ideology being replicated across Indian where Muslims are the primary targets. Even his boastful claims on administration and governance stand punctured by figures coming out of Gujarat (read Narendra Modi’s tall claims are all lies). 

Given the lack of political knowledge Modi has been exhibiting, his understanding of the Kashmir problem is clearly limited. During a rally in Jammu in 2013, Modi said "As per Constitution, the debate will go on whether Article 370 will end or continue ….at least there should be debate whether Article 370 has benefitted Jammu and Kashmir or not." Soon after being challenged about his understanding and wisdom on Article 370, his tone had changed. Recently at his ‘Bharat vijay rally’ at Hira Nagar, Jammu he avoided all reference to 370 and suddenly shifted to the Vajpayee mantra "The path shown by Vajpayee, humanity, democracy and Kashmiriyat… we will carry forward". Perhaps he realized that had it been so easy to revoke Article 370, BJP would have tried that in its last NDA stint. While the BJP manifesto for 2009 general elections proclaimed "Article 370 poses a psychological barrier for the full integration of the people of Jammu & Kashmir with the national mainstream. The BJP remains committed to the abrogation of this Article", BJP chief Rajnath Singh, this January statedno objection to Article 370 which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir if it helps in the development of the state.”

During the mayhem and bloodletting of 2010, right after an all party parliamentary delegation visited Kashmir, BJP whose members were part of this delegation clarified that their stand remained unchanged, continuing to oppose any autonomy / self-rule to Kashmir or withdrawal or dilution in AFSPA. While innocent kids were being shot dead in Kashmir by Indian forces, leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley (who had been part of the Kashmir delegation) called for “firm measures to eradicate the idea of separatism". For BJP every Kashmiri was a ‘separatist’. 

Since Modi is a RSS product, he has always been following the RSS plan in letter and spirit, and Kashmir will be no exception to this rule. RSS chief Bhagwat made this policy on Kashmir clear in Sept 2013 while addressing a rally of 'Swayam Sevaks' at Parade ground, Jammu "The accession of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of India is not due to the document of accession. Kashmir was ours since times immemorial. Accession is irreversible and irrevocable." For RSS, Kashmir was a part of ‘extended Hindu Bharat’ that had to be annexed and maintained due to ‘assumed Hindu linkages’, not due to any political assimilation or will of Kashmiris. His rejection of the ‘document of accession’ (a document which itself has been mired in controversies) in favor of “Kashmir was ours since times immemorial” only points to a fascist aim in this occupation.  

The founder of right winged Jana Sangh, Shyama Prasad Mookerji, whose ideology Modi admires and subscribes to, as a minister in Nehru’s Cabinet was privy to the discussions and formulation of the Article 370 document. Ironically not only has Modi failed to take political lessons on Kashmir, his knowledge of ‘his icons’ and Kashmir is so bad that in one of his recent speeches he claimed “freedom fighter Shyama Prasad Mukherjee had died in Geneva in 1930” (Shyama Prasad passed away on 23 June 1953, at a nursing home in Kashmir) and that “Mukherjee, a great son of Gujarat built India house in London and was in regular dialogue with Vivekananda and Dayanand Saraswati” (Mukherjee was born in 1901 while Vivekananda died in 1902). 

‘Vajpayee era and Kashmir’

Vajpayee’s talk of “Insaniyat ke daiere mai”(within the limits of humanity) were mere words, offering nothing in reality to Kashmir. Even while the ruling NC was part of NDA and Omar Abdullah enjoyed his ministerial berth under the BJP, even basic things like justice for crimes by organs of Indian state, troop deployment and demilitarization or AFSPA revocation were completely ignored. The same NDA government pulped J&K state legislature’s resolution on restoration of autonomy, even while NC continued to be a part of it. Human rights abuses in Kashmir continued unabated even during this Vajpayee regime.

On another front for all its hype, the ‘Vajpayee-Musharraf accord’ not only fell utterly short of expectations in Kashmir, even this limited proposal was hijacked from within the BJP, with RSS taking over and consigning it to flames. When months of backroom talks between India and Pakistan (started since March, 2000) resulted in the Agra summit, Vajpayee had decided to take only Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh to Agra, but RSS President K Sudrashan (he had got a whiff of these talks from Vajpayee’s son-in-law, Ranjan Bhattacharya, who was involved in these Track II talks) advised that LK Advani be included to "assist" Vajpayee. The July 15th talks between Vajpayee and Musharraf culminated into the foreign ministers of India and Pakistan completing an accord by evening same day. The Pakistani delegation retired for the night believing that July 16th was going to be a big day on Kashmir. But on the same night of July 15th Advani asked to see the draft, following which RSS President Sudarshan had Advani and Murli Manohar Joshi (Minister for HR) take over and prepare a revised draft. By the next morning Vajpayee had been reduced to a spectator and Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh humiliated by his own staffer V. K. Katju (then JS in-charge Pakistan desk MEA) who refused to show him the revised draft document. As Major General Rashid Qureshi, DG Inter Services public relations later put it "The joint statement prepared by foreign ministers was changed three times by an unseen power". ‘Vajpayee-Musharraf accord’ had been shred overnight by RSS and their shadow ministers in BJP, and Kashmir pushed back to square one. This limited proposal between Vajpayee and Musharaff included

a) Recognizing Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh as separate entities within the resolution of J&K.

b) Autonomy for Kashmir without redrawing borders.

c) Demilitarization and reduction of army footprints from civilian areas.

d) Soft borders between Indian administered and Pakistani administered Kashmir.

e) Free movement of trade and domiciles between two Kashmirs.

f) Promotion of India Pakistan trade (especially the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline in which Reliance had expressed huge interest and hence was pushing New Delhi for own benefits). 

BJP and its parent RSS represent the extreme rightwing of Indian politics and aim to take India further away from any of its proclaimed secular ideals. In a country where even the Congress is seen as a ‘not so secular party’, kind of a ‘BJP with a secular mask’ (remember how Congress helped in Babri demolition and how it has been using Muslims in India as a vote bank only), what good will the BJP with a RSS poster boy as PM candidate, do for Kashmir? If Congress has been responsible for so much misery and oppression in Kashmir, Modi (read BJP) when in power will only extend this oppression. For BJP, Muslims being the punching bags, add to it the extended prejudice against Kashmiri Muslims labeled as separatists, any offer even if it were mere basic decisions on demilitarization or AFSPA (not to speak of any resolution of Kashmir) will be seen as a deviation from their Hinduvta and populist plank. For both Congress and BJP, Kashmir is a bloody backyard they shut their windows on, leaving the bloodletting to their armed forces and proxies here. This barricaded backyard is only used by these parties to whip nationalistic sentiments in India, its occupation carried as badges of honor by both these parties. Fact is Kashmir has no friends, no conscience for and no advocates in India. And it is this bitter truth that all parties those claim to represent Kashmir must understand.