Inane Sound Bites

Chief minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed’s utterances are increasingly becoming funny. The truism that a politician’s word is like grass to the fire, meant to create a flicker rather than long-term warmth, appears to have been taken too literally by the aging politician. These days, he is throwing too much dry grass around in too many lit pyres. Asking the Saudi Arabian government to conduct a fair inquiry into the Mina stampede is one such inane outpouring. The comical aspect of this request is that it was made on the first day of the autumn session of the state assembly. Do we expect the Saudi ambassador in India to remain attuned to any news channel that might be broadcasting the proceedings of the assembly live? Is he going to take ‘suo moto’ cognizance of Mr Sayeed’s call for probe? Mr Sayeed, you are not the prime minister of a country who, according to diplomatic protocol, can ask for such an inquiry. You are the chief minister of a state, where the words ‘inquiry, probe, investigation’ have become synonymous with official subversion of justice. Saudi Arabia might be a theocracy and one can dispute with how the country is run, but matters of justice are taken by its rulers very seriously. Rather than wasting the sound bite on the warm autumn air, it would have been better had you ordered an inquiry into why the people of the state learnt about the deaths of the Valley’s Hajis through the media rather than official channels. Complaints are rife about how casually the state Hajj committee officials have been responding to the pilgrims in the Holy land. However, since the current situation has left the chief minister with nothing substantial to do, he is keeping the pyres ablaze with worn-out bites. One of his favourite bites is that “Kashmir’s future lies with India.” Given the militarisation, New Delhi’s aggressive policies and the history of political subversion, it appears that what the chief minister means is ‘no matter what you Kashmiris have been demanding, India is not going to leave you.’ Otherwise, a politician like him, who has been around for long, would be aware of the fact that the entire turmoil in Kashmir is about what its future ought to be like. All forms of resistance, all political processes, dialogues and talks, which Mr Sayeed and other pro-India politicians often advocate, are directed towards a search for a future Kashmiris aspire to.