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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

MLA wants raishumari, MLC calls militant Burhan Wani ‘shaheed’

BJP, PDP mute to separatist voices in Assembly; Pawan Gupta attributes Kashmir killings to ‘lowering of guard’ by Mehbooba government

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

JAMMU, Jan 3: Competitive separatism by the Valley’s mainstream politicians on Monday created a theatre of the absurd Martin Esslin wouldn’t have imagined on the floor of the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council in Jammu and Kashmir which has every member on oath to uphold the sovereignty and integrity of India. New Delhi’s licensed secessionist narrative turned bizarre when the BJP-PDP coalition watched dumbly independent MLA Er. Rashid calling for ‘raishumari’ (plebiscite) and the National Conference (NC) MLC Showkat Hussain Ganai eulogising the Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani as a ‘shaheed’ (martyr).

Those having enjoyed Vishal Bhardwaj’s chutzpah sequence in the Bollywood film Haider—the depressed protagonist at Lalchowk chantingto the crowds iss paar bhi lenge aazadi, uss paar bhi lenge aazadi—were amused to listen to an elected lawmaker. “Raishumari insha allah hokar rahegi. Aaj nahi tau kal ittihas banega” (Plebiscite, God willing, will be held in Jammu and Kashmir. If not today, tomorrow history will be created) the MLA from Langet grumbled on the floor of the Assembly.

Even as a former BJP-associate and MLA of Udhampur Pawan Gupta registered his strong protest and the BJP-PDP chose to remain a mute spectator, Rashid went ahead to claim that the slain militant Burhan Wani and the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba’s J&K chief Abu Dujana were “ruling the hearts” in Kashmir. “You want to rule us at the barrel of the gun”, Rashid shouted on the BJP MLAs and Ministers. “Fact of the matter is that not more than 4,000 Kashmiris participated in Mufti Sayeed’s funeral while as thousands and lakhs of them attended Burhan’s and (former LeT chief) Abu Qasim’s last rites”, Rashid asserted.

“What are you guys going to get out of this rhetoric of the domicile certificate? See 25 of this House’s seats are lying here vacant for that part of the State since decades. If the Parliament has passed a resolution of getting back that part of Kashmir in 1995, why didn’t you get it back in 20 years? You are concerned about nothing but elections in Kashmir. Once you hold them, you forget about everything. Your slumber breaks when turbulence crashes into your face. Then you send envoys and interlocutors to Valley to touch Geelani’s feet. You have messed up things. With this irresponsible behaviour, Kashmir has slipped out of everybody’s hand. If Geelani will tread a single step toward you, Kashmiris today will burn down his house. You people are responsible for every drop of blood being shed in Kashmir”, Rashid shouted.

Rashid contended that successive governments in New Delhi had created and perpetuated an atmosphere of political uncertainty with deceitful rhetoric, leading generation after generation to believe that the State’s borders would be redrawn one day. He alleged that nothing but expediency and convenience were the cornerstones of the alliance between BJP and PDP that, according to him, had been driving in opposite directions in Jammu and Srinagar. There was no ideological symmetry or commitment, he claimed.

“Here in Jammu, you BJP guys call Burhan a terrorist. I dare a single PDP member get up and call him a terrorist”, Rashid challenged the principal ruling party whose MLA of Tral Mushtaq Ahmad Shah in July was the first mainstream leader to describe Burhan as a martyr and “popular crusader”. He referred to the dichotomy about Burhan between the statements of Chief Minister and Deputy Chief Minister.

“If you people get 80% of the Kashmiris to vote in elections; if you people claim that only 5% Kashmiris are shouting for aazadi, why don’t you hold a referendum in Jammu and Kashmir?”, Rashid addressed the Treasury benches before he was marshalled out during an altercation with the former Minister and MLA Pawan Gupta. Pawan and a couple of the BJP MLAs shouted on Rashid that he should go to live in Pakistan.

In his hard-hitting speech, during the special discussion on the 2016 turmoil, Pawan assailed BJP for the volte face after becoming a partner in the government with PDP. He alleged that the BJP-led Centre had remained permissive and tolerant to competitive separatism for PDP’s pleasure and things had deteriorated to the extent that even the elected legislators, who were on oath to protect the sovereignty and integrity of India, were now outsmarting the Hurriyat with their secessionist rhetoric on the floor of the House.

“Why are you guys mute to their allegation that over 100 people were killed in Kashmir by our Police and security forces? The fact is that your government has lowered the guard in Kashmir and allowed a combination of separatism and terrorism to revive. These are only the consequences of your helplessness and incompetence”, Pawan addressed the BJP fold.

Parallel to the drama in Assembly, NC’s MLC Showkat Hussain Ganai in Legislative Council described Burhan Wani as a "shaheed” (martyr). “Kashmiris will continue to pick up guns and sacrifice their life fighting until the issue is resolved,” Ganai said.

PDP MLC Firdous Tak interrupted Ganai and asked him to clarify if it was his party’s stand. “The statement of the member is very sensitive. This massage would go outside. So he must realize what he is speaking in the House.”

“I am fully aware about the place where I am saying it and I stand by each word I said about Burhan Wani”, Ganai asserted in response to the PDP MLC. “Burhan was a freedom fighter, a martyr and this is the thinking of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, not mine alone”, he said. According to him even the Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin had crossed over to Pakistan “for finding resolution of the long-pending Kashmir dispute, not for contesting elections”.


[STATE TIMES January 4, 2016]

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