Madhu Purnima Kishwar
Profile of Madhu Purnima Kishwar

Madhu Purnima Kishwar is Senior Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS)—a social science research centre, based in Delhi. Director of the Indic Studies Project based at CSDS aimed at the study of diverse faith traditions and cultures in the Indic civilisation. She is the ...

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    Madhu Purnima Kishwar’s Blog
    “I have a horror of all isms, especially those that attach themselves to proper names”.
    -- M. K. Gandhi --
    Posted on:
    Playing a dangerous game
    First Published in : Times of India, November 18, 2011
    image

    Omar Abdullah is the most fortunate of all chief ministers. Thanks to an enduring third-fourth generation friendship between the Abdullah dynasty and the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty, he not only has direct access to 10 Janpath but also a warm friendship with Rahul Gandhi, the man whose wishes are commands for everyone in the Congress party. No chief minister in the country, no senior Congress leader, enjoys such unconditional support from the Congress high command.

    For example, the prime minister and the home minister publicly supported Omar when large sections of the Kashmiri populace rose in revolt against him in 2010.

    That is why it is puzzling that he has made the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) such an unpleasant controversy involving a public confrontation with the army chief as well as the defence minister. If he was serious, he would have first withdrawn the draconian Public Safety Act - a J&K Act using which his government has arrested thousands of teenagers in
    Kashmir on charges of stone pelting. He does not need the Centre's permission to do so.

    Most people in Kashmir think that the AFSPA issue is meant only to distract attention from the 120 avoidable killings during the 2010 agitation, and also the governance deficit he is widely held responsible for. Most of all, he has put a lid on the issue of his alleged involvement in the mysterious death of his party colleague Syed Mohammad Yousuf. To top it all, he has won the support of all hues of separatists. They are enjoying the spectacle of the army made to feel like an occupation force and an open tussle between the home and the defence minister.

    Not too long ago when the PDP had asked that the AFSPA be revoked, Farooq Abdullah had hit out at them saying: "Those who want AFSPA withdrawn should first surrender their own security." Do we take it that Omar is ready to move around without any security in the three districts from where he wants the AFSPA withdrawn?

    The AFSPA can be revoked by the governor of J&K or by the central government at the recommendation of the J&K cabinet. If Omar were serious about withdrawing it, he would have first built a consensus on this issue in his own cabinet. J&K Congress leaders have openly expressed their displeasure at Omar making a full-blown media controversy without even informing them about his intent.

    If Omar does not trust his cabinet colleagues, he could well have got the Congress high command to get the home ministry, the defence ministry and the army chief to agree to a mutually acceptable decision. In 2003, the PDP-Congress coalition managed to revoke POTA without needless controversy because the then chief minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, prepared the ground for it and presented it as a consensual decision.

    The AFSPA should not be continued with. The sooner the J&K police is equipped to take charge of security and law and order issues, the better. However, during the past few years, the people's anger and mistrust have been primarily directed at Omar's regime and the J&K police, not the army.

    In 2010, the ire of stone-pelting mobs was directed at ruling party politicians, the J&K police and the CRPF - not at the army. When Omar asked the army to intervene to put down the protests, the army chief refused, telling Omar that handling public protests was the job of the ruling administration. After great persuasion, the army agreed to no more than a flag march on the outskirts of Srinagar.

    Today, the army enjoys far more goodwill in Kashmir than the current political regime. The breakdown of governance has meant that villagers often approach army officers for grievances regarding civic amenities such as restoration of water supply and electricity. They don't go to their political representatives or local officials because the army is more responsive. During the years when the Abdullah family had abandoned the troubled Valley and made Delhi and London their home, the army, through the Sadbhavna mission, partly filled the vacuum created by the breakdown of civic infrastructure. It built schools, health centres, mini power projects for rural electrification and roads. It had to take over many of the tasks meant to be performed by the civilian administration and political leadership.

    This is not to deny that the army is implicated in several cases of human rights abuses. But it is not a rogue organisation. It has built more self-correcting mechanisms than most of our political parties. It has punished several officers guilty of abusing power. In contrast, the wrongdoings of the J&K police and the state bureaucracy go unpunished.

    The army has learnt a lot from its mistakes. But Omar and his party don't feel the need to learn any lessons; they can always count on the support of the Congress high command to bail them out of their self-created messes.

    The Indian army will happily quit Kashmir if the political establishments in Delhi and Srinagar are convinced that its services are not needed. All they have to do is to take a considered decision through due process instead of subjecting the army to needless public humiliation and controversy.

    First published by Times of India (See link: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-11-18/edit-page/30410703_1_afspa-omar-abdullah-pdp-congress )

    Comment(1)
     
    ...2:43 AM Our concept of hnuoor, pride I fail to understand your concept of Honour & Pride. Where was your hnuoor when Kashmiri Pundits were massacred and driven out from the Valley in 1989. Today you talk of human rights but what about those little kids who fled to refugee camps in Jammu and Udhampur just because the separatists were raping and looting them. WAS THIS YOUR HONOUR & PRIDE? Okay - today you are trying a sympathy chord by sacrificing children like cowards by pushing them in front of the Police bullets. IS THIS YOUR HONOUR THAT YOU HIDE BEHIND WOMEN AN CHILDREN? IF YOU WERE NOT IMPOTENT EUNUCHS WE WOULD HAVE EACH CHILD SHIELDED BY 'REAL' MEN AND NOT HAVE THE PAK CONTROLLED EUNUCHS HIDING BEHIND THEM. Its easy to get children killed by pushing them in front and then creating an Human rights issue. Are these the children of the trouble mongers? No way? Their children are safe in Pakistan, Dubai or Australia.THE BEST WORD FOR SUCH COWARDS WHO PUSH CHILDREN AS CANNON FODDER IS 'HIJDA'. ARE YOU PROUD OF BEING ONE? WHY AREN'T YOU CALLING THE KASHMIRI PUNDITS BACK INTO THE VALLEY? OR DO YOU CALL THEIR MASSACRE A MATTER OF HONOUR & PRIDE.You guys are getting away with this only because of the Italian Congress and corrupt IAS babus. Otherwise in these years after 1989 when you drove the hindus out of the valley into refugee camps in their own country the Govt should have woken up and removed Art 370. What would have happened ? Some protest and killings? Isnt it happening now? Needed that Political guts which is missing in this sly govt. In fact even now if the integrity of the Nation is being questioned the Govt should take a lesson from your mentors The Pakis. Bomb those areas where sepeartists are holed up. Remove Art 370 and move in the army. Instead of this prolonged proxy war lets have a face off. KASHMIR IS INDIA - No Questions. Dare Pakistan to enter when the Valley is being cleansed of the Devils. Why listen to this day in day out kich-kich of humnan rights violation and figures of 1 - 50000 people killed. Lets have one surgical strike. INDIA should demonstrate - DONT MESS WITH US. And belive me - KASHMIRIS HATE THE PAKIS WHO DISTRUST THEM AND THEY WOULD LIKE TO OPEN UP KASHMIR AS A SAFE HAVEN FOR TERRORISTS FROM SAUDI AND AFGHNISTAN.
    Posted By : Iam, On Date: Thursday, March 07, 2013
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