Fears that Jammu and Kashmir would split on communal and regional lines if the PDP fails to ally with the BJP ought to be allayed with a positive and affirmative coalescence of forces that do not share the right-wing party’s rabidly communal appeal and time-tested formula of wading through blood to capture the country’s throne.
The challenge is not insignificant, given the groundwork the sangh parivar and its cohorts have been engaged in to communalise areas across the Pir Panjal ranges with a variety of devices, like the politically-motivated unsustainable burgeoning of the Amarnath Yatra, the subsequent Shrine Board land deal, and the justified reaction to it on this side. Since the latest parliamentary elections, and their results in J and K, have created a history of sorts, it may help recalling the Kishtwar violence that immediately preceded them as a scaled-down version of the deadly Muzaffarnagar riots which won the BJP the state of Uttar Pradesh and therefore a majority in the Lok Sabha.
Attempts to couple this state-will-split spectre with the state-will-suffer bogey are a specious argument and a veiled beginning to rewrite the structure of any individual state’s relationship with the centre, particularly vis-a-vis fund allocation and the other myriad aspects of assistance for development, governance and, in the present case, disaster relief and rehabilitation. Utterances to this effect smack of a willingness to be blackmailed on grounds that sound unconstitutional, illogical and undemocratic to even the most casual observer.
Theories that Kashmir runs the risk of a development deficit without so-called Kashmir-centric parties tying up with the Delhi dispensation do not stand up to scrutiny, the proof being the state of the Valley’s development when governed by arrangements that included the parties in power at the centre. Besides, some of the purportedly landmark initiatives taken on contentious issues had come when a nascent political formation in J and K had tied up with the ideological opponents of those at the helm in New Delhi. That formation does not have to repay its debt to a grotesque caricature of statesmanship, but to resist its avowed agenda of steamrolling a diverse land into homogeneity on the basis of numbers thrown up by regressive ideas and slogans.