By Waseem Rasool
Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah (SMA) was undisputed leader of Kashmir. His leadership was something that Kashmiris not only acknowledged, embraced and acclaimed but believed in , as a pillar of their faith. After SMA supported and helped the accession of the J&K to the union of India and after the Indira-Abdulla accord, doubts germinated in the hearts of Kashmiris against the leadership of SMA. Many Kashmiris held that SMA had lost the moral right to speak for tham. This was manifested in the by-election of 1975 for the Sonawari constituency as SMA was required to get elected to the state legislative assembly to continue as the Chief Minister of Kashmir. In this by- election for the Sonawar constituency, a 22 year young Kashmiri was fielded to contest the election against SMA. This was for the first time that the undisputed leadership of SMA was challenged and faith of Kashmiris on the leadership of SMA waned. Post Indira-Abdulla accord, even the former staunch supporters of SMA held that SMA had lost the moral right to speak for Kashmiris.
There would be no denying of the fact that almost all the governments in the state of J&K have always danced to the tune of Delhi, which always annoyed and harmed Kashmiris. The people of the region were compelled to face the ugly years of 1990s, 2008, 2010, 2016 and such ugly times may perhaps continue in the future. During all these years, Kashmiris were not only pushed against the wall but were made to bathe in bloody rivers. Not only this, but they were looted of their natural resources like hydropower projects, forests, and so on.
Kashmiris would not have face all these travails , had those who were at the helm of affairs in the state stood strong before Delhi and put forth the interests and wellbeing of Kashmir and Kashmiris. Visiting the political history of mainstream politicians of Kashmir, the question that arises in peoples’ minds heart is: do mainstream politicians have any moral right to speak for them?
The author hails from Srinagar and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org