Dr Muhammad Khan
From August 5, 2019, there is a total clampdown in Indian occupied Kashmir
(IOK); in a condition of curfew and siege since last sixty-three days. Apart from the curfew and siege for general masses in IOK, the pro India political leadership were also put under the house arrest. It is said that, arrest of pro India, Kashmiri leadership is more of symbolic, since these families have been Delhi’s loyalists since 1940s, therefore will be given a transformed role after implementation of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act-2019.
It is worth mentioning that, Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act-2019, was passed by both houses of Indian Parliament on August 05 and 06 and was assented to by the Indian President, Ram Nath Kovind, on August 09, making it part of Indian Constitution. After attaining the status of Indian constitution, it will be implemented with effect from October 31, 2019. According to this Act, a new Union territory of Ladakh has been constituted without Legislature whereas the new Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir has been constituted with Legislature.
Since India cannot annoy its puppet political families of the occupied Kashmir, therefore, there is a symbolic house arrest of Abdullah Family and the Mufti Family. Farooq Abdullah along with his son Omar Abdullah (both former chief ministers of IOK) had a meeting with Indian Prime Minister on August 1, 2019, just few days prior to doing away the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and imposition of curfew and siege there. It is widely perceived that, Farooq Abdullah had consented Modi to go ahead with the abrogation of special provisions for the state of Jammu and Kashmir while Omar Abdullah showed hesitancy, which was obvious from his brief press talks on August 1, 2019.
On the other hand, since BJP had betrayed Mehbooba Mufti, by withdrawing its support to her coalition Government in June 2018, pushing the state to a chaos and current state of annexation, therefore, she was not taken into confidence directly. Nonetheless, she too was conveyed the Indian decision of August 5, 2019 as a former Chief Minister and a future Indian crony. Her father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has been twice Chief Minister of IOK. There is yet another Pro India Kashmiri leader; Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, having the political affiliation with the Congress Party, mostly resides in New Delhi have always been looking forward for an opportunity to rule the occupied state to the pleasure of New Delhi.
The most significant aspect is the predictable role of the youth of this dynastic political leadership of IOK. Omar Abduallh has been the Chief Minister of IOK and was taken into confidence for the current state of affairs. BJP has placed him as number one puppet to stamp the New Delhi’s illegal act of annexation of the state (IOK) through a later election. All is planned, since Abdullah family is known for its loyalty with India, starting from his grandfather, Sheikh who established National Congress, dissecting Muslim Conference in 1939 and later remained loyal to New Delhi till his death. Omar Abduallh is more or less quite, since August 5, 2019, a strategy to avoid becoming a disputed personality, ready to assume the role of Indian puppet in any future setup.
A very vocal vice, we listen today from IOK is Ms Iltija Mufti, daughter of Mehbooba Mufti. She is constantly protesting in the Indian media against what has happened in the occupied state in the form of siege and curfew and massive human rights violations there. She is trying to prove as the future leader of the Kashmir, may be replacing her mother, whom Kashmiris considered as the Indian puppet. She has been allowed by Indian Supreme Court to meet her mother and thereafter, she is more forceful in media interaction asking for restoration of special status of Jammu and Kashmir through restoration of Article 370 and 35A. All she is remonstrating to free her mother and other political leaders from house arrests and lifting of curfew and stoppage of human rights violations. Otherwise, she has no issue with Indian rule and Indian constitution of pre August 5, 2019.
Two other prominent youth leaders getting massive coverage in Indian media are; Shah Faesal, a former bureaucrat and Ms Shehla Rashid Shora, both from IOK. In 2009, Shah Faesal became the first Kashmiri to place first in the Indian Civil Services Examination, later resigned as Deputy Commissioner in protest on 9 January 2019, citing “unabated killings” in IOK. He established his political party in March 2019 with the name of ‘Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement (JKPM)’. Shehla Rashid also joined JKPM, the political party of Mr Shah Faesal. Both are vocal about the human rights situation in IOK. They have not asked to step-out from the Indian rule and Indian constitution. Their movement and struggle is mainly focusing on human rights and restoration of pre August 5, 2019 status of IOK. Indian Government have been registering cases against both, yet allowing them to speak freely about the ; curfew, siege and human rights, not allowing them to question the sovereignty of India over occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
The soft corner, Indian Government, its military and above all, its media has for the few dynastic youth of the political families of IOK, clearly indicates the nurturing of the future political leadership in occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir. Today they are only protesting for the restoration of pre August 5, 2019 position and ending the siege, not challenging the illegal Indian rule over the state. It can be a deliberate Indian format to take on board this dynastic youth for a future setup in IOK. The people like; Shah Faesal and Shehla Rashid may act as the alternative to the dynastic youth; Omar Abdullah and Ms Iltija Mufti. The entire Indian strategy is centred around the theme; to take on board the liberal political youth and ridicule the real Kashmiri youth, struggling for the right of self-determination of Kashmiris and also rejecting the leadership of APHC.
— The writer, a retired Brig, is Professor of Politics and International Relations at International Islamic University, Islamabad.