Before and after coming into power, Omar Abdullah had quite often advocated the need for setting up of Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) in Jammu and Kashmir. The proposal though flawed, instilled a ray of hope among masses that the government led by National Conference (NC) would try to heal the wounds inflicted on people over the years of massive repression and oppression. That the government led by PDP’s Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had failed to deliver over the much trumpeted promise of “Healing Touch” made people to fancy positive about NC’s promise. Flawed the idea was because it was borrowed from the incomparable situation in post-apartheid South Africa where the said Commission was set up only after the conflict was over and normalcy was restored.
Contrarily, in Kashmir, the conflict is still ragging and taking lives of people with ever impending spectre of escalating the tensions between nuclear powers India and Pakistan, two of the three parties to the dispute, into a full-fledged war. Unlike South Africa, normalcy in Kashmir was restored only in state narrative to serve political interests. On the ground, situation remains grim.
Despite being flawed, the promise of setting up TRC in Kashmir by NC was seen by informed circles as an unstated hint of repentance being offered over the oppression people faced during the party’s previous rule in late nineties. Five years later, however, the facts reveal that far from being reconciliatory, the party has remained vindictive. For instance, the figures presented in the ongoing session of the Legislative Assembly by the Chief Minister, who also holds the portfolio of Home, reveal that nearly 9,200 youth were booked for “stone pelting and waging war against the state” in Kashmir since 2009. In a written reply to a question of PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, Abdullah informed the Assembly that out of the 9200 youth, only 1800 have been granted “amnesty” by the government so far.
Apart from giving breakup of the figure mentioned above, Abdullah, who had announced a general amnesty for Kashmiri youth booked for participating in stone pelting incidents and “waging a war against the state” in August 2011 after the three consecutive summer agitations of 2008, 2009 and 2010 in the Valley, also said the government had no proposal under consideration to grant amnesty to any militant or any person involved in any heinous crime.
Abdullah’s reply has ripped apart his earlier claims of reconciliation and exposed the dichotomous policies of Kashmir’s oldest pro-India party. This explains all about the weight they give to the masses whom they claim to represent.