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Mainstream, VOL LVI No 29 New Delhi July 7, 2018

On Kashmir

Monday 9 July 2018, by Arup Kumar Sen

The failure of the democratic experiments in Kashmir has a long history. Kashmir’s strongest leader in post-colonial India, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, was all of a sudden informed by the Superintendent of Police in August 1953, when the Sheikh was holidaying in Gulmarg, that he had been dismissed as the chief of the State and was being interned. The Sheikh stayed out of power for 22 years, until he accepted an accord with Indira Gandhi in 1975.

The Congress-National Conference alliance, which came to power in the Assembly elections in the late 1980s, had disastrous consequences for the State. To put it in the words of Amitabh Mattoo, “In 1987, Kashmir’s rigged Assembly election, fought by the National Conference and Congress together, we now know without a shred of doubt, would lead to the decades of the militancy.â€

The 2014 Assembly elections brought the PDP-BJP coalition government to power in Kashmir. According to a media report, “violence in the Valley has been climbing since 2014, after it began to recede starting 2008†. What happened in Kashmir in the wake of the Ramzan ceasefire on June 19, 2018, gives ominous signals. The Chief Secretary of the State reportedly received a phone call from Governor N. N. Vohra. “Vohra communicated that he had received a fax from the BJP legislators, withdrawing support to the government.†The Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, immediately resigned, and Kashmir came under Governor’s Rule.

No one knows with certainty what will be the fate of the Kashmiris under Governor’s Rule. But, the possibility of escalation in state violence is written on the wall. To put it in the words of a journalist, “Kashmir is likely to witness a new wave of violence as target-specific military operations will go up in the coming days with the State coming under Governor’s Rule, said officials within the security establishment.†(The Hindu, June 19, 2018)

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