Political parties in Kashmir are divided over the “pro-government” stance of several of its leaders in the aftermath of the Central government’s decision to split the erstwhile state into the union territories of Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh.
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) expelled Rajya Sabha MP Nazir Ahmad Laway for attending the oath taking ceremony of the Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu, while the Congress asked three of its leaders, including a former MLA, to explain themselves after they met European Union (EU) parliamentarians in Kashmir and Delhi.
Many leaders who have been freed from detention have refrained from giving political statements against the revocation of Article 370. These developments have come to the fore even as Kashmir continues to observe shutdown, although public demonstrations against the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status — which now allows non-residents to buy property — have not been reported for several weeks. Scores of youths, however, continue to remain under detention for taking part in the pro-freedom and anti-India protests in Kashmir.
Authorities have relaxed restrictions on several leaders, freeing them from house arrest or the makeshift detention facility at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Convocation Centre (SKICC) after they pledged not to lead any protests against the revocation of special status. At least five former MLAs and several lower rung leaders from PDP and Congress have been released from detention recently.
Over his expulsion from the party, PDP MP Laway said he represents the PDP which was “founded” by former chief mininster Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. “I have taken oath under Indian Constitution as an MP and as a parliament member I have certain responsibilities towards the public. People need to know who betrayed them. There are some who have pursued dynastic politics and they always get riled up if a common man like me leads the path of truth,” he said. [sic]
Laway said those accusing him of being soft towards government need to know that both PDP and NC have allied with the BJP earlier for power. The PDP has, however, taken exception that Laway attended Murmu's swearing in when several of its leaders, including former chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, are under detention.
The party has, however, not reacted to former deputy chief minister and its patron Muzafar Beigh’s meeting with EU parliamentarians earlier in Delhi. Beigh said that he attended the EU delegation meeting in personal capacity. Former PDP MLC Firdous Tak said the party issued a statement from its Srinagar office to expel Laway. He didn’t clarify that whether it was cleared by Mehbooba, who is under detention. He also didn’t clarify whether government was allowing some leaders to get in touch with Mehbooba on phone or allowing her to vet statements while she was in detention.
On extending the invitation to PDP MP Laway while keeping Mehbooba under detention, former deputy chief minister and BJP leader Kavinder Gupta “the BJP believes in keeping only those under detention who speak in favour of Pakistan.”
“We are even ready to ally with the leaders in Kashmir who will respect the Indian Constitution and believe in protecting the territorial integrity of India,” he added. Mehbooba earlier also expelled former minister Altaf Bukhari for “ trying to break” PDP by forging an alliance with the BJP. Several party MLAs joined PDP rivals in Kashmir after the fall of PDP-BJP state government.
Bukhari’s name also surfaced as the front0runner for the position of a chief minister in a common alliance between PDP, NC and Congress. Bukhari, however, said he was not speaking to media since his expulsion from the PDP.
The revocation of special status has in itself triggered crises within the mainstream parties. A senior leader of People’s Conference (PC) said that he wouldn’t like to react on the revocation of Article 370. He didn't wish to be named. Authorities released some leaders on the health grounds and several others on “surety bonds” that they won’t take part in protests.
Congress leader Usman Majeed said he attended the EU meeting at Delhi after getting a call from a foreign embassy. He was earlier released on health grounds following detention of over two months at his home in northern Kashmir district of Bandipora. The Congress asked him to “explain” his position and issued a show cause notice to the ex-MLA. The party has also issued the show cause notice to its spokesperson Farooq Andrabi and general secretary Surinder Singh Channi for meeting the EU delegation in Srinagar.
Congress state president GA Mir said the party issued the show cause notice to three leaders for attending the meeting of the “EU parliamentarians who supported the government.” “When our leaders, including former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, were not allowed to visit Kashmir, how was it that the government allowed the EU team to visit Kashmir?” he wondered.
The EU team earlier said revocation of Article 370 was an internal matter of the Indian government and also condemned the attacks on non-locals by militants.
Usman Majeed said in his meeting with EU leaders that he stressed that the Kashmir issue can only be resolved through dialogue between India and Pakistan. He said he has not received any notice from the party and has learnt about it only in news reports. The former Congress MLA said he had no differences with the Congress and followed the party ideology on Kashmir.
Updated Date: Nov 04, 2019 21:33:24 IST