The Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti’s yesterday’s statement hailing Prime Minister Modi for giving Pakistan the ‘last chance’ to fight poverty and illiteracy together “instead of militant activities” stands discredited less than 24 hours later as the news about cross the border firing between the troops of the two countries that has caused several fatalities on both sides and the reported seizure of one Indian soldier by the Pakistani forces poured in.
Today, she has described the situation along the Line of Control (LoC) as “war-like” and also voiced grave concern over the escalation, warning that confrontation could lead to a “disaster of epic proportions” for Jammu and Kashmir. While her response to this unfolding crisis on the LoC is well-timed, appropriate and therefore welcome, it would do a great service if she recognizes that her earlier statement was nothing more than a fluffy political stitch-up that deserved to be excised.
It is a matter of concern that Mufti is displaying a constant inability to speak in simple and intelligible language of the ordinary people that conveys meaningful and relevant messages to the public who are battered by the violence in various guises – from killing, blinding and maiming to attacks on properties and crops.
Ever since the current mass uprising started on 8 July, Mufti has been consistently inconsistent in her public posturing, statements and responses stoking further anger and unrest. In the beginning, she displayed sorrow at the killing of the civilians and then she justified these killings for a plethora of reasons that are lame and lack any substance.
As the conflict progressed, she continued to offer her warped wisdom on a scale that would leave most politicians dumbfounded. In one of her statements late last month she begged the people for one more chance to address their concerns and aspirations as if mitigating people’s massive sufferings was nothing but a game of chances. In one of her crude attempts to appease the Hindu extremists and appeal to their anti-Kashmiri sentiments, she characterized Kashmiri Muslims as cats and Pandits as pigeons.
Another of her often employed blurb that she re-used yesterday is that Muslims are safer in India than anywhere else. This is not only absurd but theatrical also. These tactics can neither distort the public discourse nor reinvent it to her advantage. It seems Mehbooba Mufti has exhausted her ‘last chance’.