Srinagar: Ongoing uprising against New Delhi’s rule in Kashmir is spontaneous and widespread, Asma Khan Lone has said, deflating claims by her husband Sajjad Gani Lone, one of the partners of India’s ruling BJP government along with PDP in Jammu and Kashmir.
“The present uprising has completely different dynamics. The scope and scale is far more intense and widespread extending to hitherto unaffected areas and populations. It is mostly spontaneous and led by groups of dauntless local youngsters, even if the militant footprint is on the rise,” Asma said in her write-up in Newsweek, Middle East.
Sajjad, who is Social Welfare and Science & Technology minister on BJP’s share in ruling alliance headed by PDP, had claimed that “nothing in Kashmir is spontaneous’, toeing BJP’s line that the ongoing uprising is sponsored by Pakistan.
Son of the assassinated Hurriyat Conference chairman Abdul Gani Lone, Sajjad had also claimed that only 5% people participate in the uprising, a claim later echoed by chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti who subsequently recalibrated it by saying 95% want resolution of Kashmir dispute through peaceful means.
“Most importantly, distinct from previous episodes, the present uprising is not issue-based—set against the ‘grievance’ of human rights violations as was the case in 2008 and 2010—but sentiment-based, placed within the greater ‘aspiration’ for azaadi (self-determination),” said Asma, daughter of late Amanullah Khan, the co-founder of pro-independence JKLF.
Asma also questioned the PDP-BJP coalition’s response to situation following the Hizb commander Burhan Wani killing which she said proved catalyst for the seething anger to brim over.
“After over a month of unrest the state machinery in Srinagar seems to have just about come to grips with the situation. Marred by confusion, internal power struggles—impeding a collective response and the process of balancing the divergent outlooks within the coalition partnership – the government’s ability for a more effective and engaging approach.”
She said that Mehbooba Mufti’s calls for action against the ‘handful miscreants’ on the one hand, and an appeal for calm and saving of young lives on the other, evincing a balancing act between her erstwhile healing touch policy and a more aggressive strategy.
New Delhi, she said, too, seemed amiss. “During previous crisis, it would step in, making up for the political vacuum within Srinagar, as was the case in 2010. However, this time there was a conspicuous absence of the same, perilously allowing the power vacuum to expand.”
Referring to Indian home minister’s recent visits to Kashmir as well as Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s conciliatory overtures, she said seems to have set the ball rolling in power echelons in India. “But will it be enough in Kashmir?” she asked.