Special Correspondent :
UNDATED: EVEN though the statement by senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh about restoration of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir may appear to be a matter of his habit of kicking up controversies, political observers suspect that it is a part of a larger design to start a fresh political activity in the Union Territory and push it to a boiling point when the country celebrates completion of two years after abrogation of the Special Status, on August 5, 2021. As part of this design, an alternate fake narrative, too, is being presented to the country to discount the popular belief that there was genocide and forced exodus of the members of the Pandit community of Kashmir. Instead, it was the Muslim community that suffered in the violence that turned Kashmir into hell thirty-plus years ago, the new narrative tries to assert. Another part of this counter-narrative is that the erstwhile Hindu ruler of Kashmir had given caste-based reserevations to the Hindu community.
Government agencies have reportedly arrived at an inference that this activity is being masterminded by elements in Pakistan, interested in promoting separatism in Jammu and Kashmir and somehow having Article 370 restored -- so that the State becomes a victim of terrorism once again, sources state. Officials in the Ministry of Home Affairs are reported to have come to a conclusion that the statement by Digvijaya Singh was not a happenstance or coincidence, but a part of an organised effort to bring to fore once again the ideological position that Article 370 is absolutely essential to Kashmir and that the current Government of India removed it illegally by applying extra-constitutional methods. These allegations also match the assertions by the signatories of the Gupkar Resolution that vowed to restore Special Status to Jammu and Kashmir, ‘The Hitavada’ has learned. One disturbing dimension of the counter-narrative is that many pro-370 politicians have started insisting again and again that Pakistan, too, has a stake in Kashmir. When the Lok Sabha was discussing the issue of abrogation of Special Status, Leader of Congress Parliamentary Party Adheer Ranjan Chowdhary had butted into the speech by Home Minister Amit Shah to insert the Pakistani stake into the issue. How could the Parliament take such a step in Kashmir which is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan, he was reported to have wondered. It may be recalled that this statement had invited much flak in the Lok Sabha.
A recent political development in Kashmir is the decision of National Conference (NC) headed by Farooq Abdullah to join the process of delimitation of constituencies, announced recently by the Government. Initially, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) headed by former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had opposed the idea of participating in the delimitation process. However, reports are doing the rounds that Farooq Abdullah has convinced Mehbooba Mufti that the Gupkar partners must not stay away from the political process.
“We can dominate the process only if we are involved,” Farooq Abdullah is reported to have said to his partner-signatories of Gupkar Resolution. Another twist to the situation is that Farooq Abdulaah has decided not to quit his position as Member of Parliament (which he once contemplated doing) and continue to take advantage of his presence in the parliamentary process, ‘The Hitavada’ has been told. Sources in some Government agencies remind that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had tweeted sometime ago a map of India in which Occupied Kashmir had been shown a part of Pakistan. “All these sly steps have the capacity to act as a slow poison,” a source said, indicating that the Government may contemplate methods to thwart those in the next some time.