Saturday, September 24, 2016

A lesson for the PDP

The ongoing Islamist violence in Kashmir after the defeat and death of terrorist commander Burhan Wani has received a great deal of attention in India as well as Pakistan. The subsequent attack on the Army base in Uri has further angered India. However, there is also another victim here: the PDP, now led by Chief Minister Mufti after the death of her father. Many PDP MLAs have been speaking out about how helpless the state government has been during the whole episode. Some of them with separatist leanings have been itching to join the protests and are presumably quite shocked that they can't do that as they would end up protesting against themselves!

All this serves a good lesson for the PDP, a party that has typically used separatist rhetoric against its chief rival, the NC, and has made repeated (and hollow) statements about 'healing touches' to a state that has essentially been engulfed by the global Islamic jihad that has literally torn through cities across the world. Burhan Wani, it may be remembered, was not fighting for freedom from India, or for merger with Pakistan, but for the first step towards establishing a global Caliphate, no doubt inspired by al-Baghdadi's own Caliphate in the Islamic State. The PDP never really saw him as a terrorist, and it has been alleged that the party even made good use of him to win the last elections in the valley. Now his ghost continues to haunt Mufti.

This is an important lesson for the PDP as well as the political parties in Kashmir (both the mainstream and separatist variety): the constant rhetoric has now gone beyond your control, and you will eventually be drowned in the new wave of Islamist violence there. Don't become another Pakistan. And as for the BJP, it may want to consider whether it actually wants a government there, or whether it should use its power in the rest of India to at least keep Jammu and Ladakh sane. 

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