Monday, November 9, 2015

Dear Modi ! Packages cannot cover up vile agendas.

"A sum of Rs 80,000 crore is not enough to cover up the overt, totalitarian designs of the PDP & BJP"

By: Salman Nizami




Till Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi arrived on the scene, a financial package from New Delhi was always a humble gesture to reach out to the Kashmiris and listen to what they have to say. It was never a grand gala event, designed to announce to the world that “see we are so generous and we are giving fat cheques to these poor people”. As a journalist, I have covered Kashmir extensively in the past, but I do not remember a rally that had been put up to highlight a humanitarian measure. A visit by the head of the state from New Delhi was always meant to extend the message of peace and brotherhood. Peaceful protest or Shutdowns were allowed to happen in a spectacle demonstrating the spirit of democracy. But when Modi visited, everybody was caged inside their houses while a paid assembly of few state loyalists was set up to cheer the dignitary. Even the way the package was announced smacked of arrogance and superiority feeling. The Congress PMs had never resorted to such publicity gimmick. They knew people want a political resolution rather than package.
When Modi visited on 7 November, shopkeepers were driven out and asked to close down their shops. So massive was the security cover, people dared not venture out of their houses. When Modi began his speech, it was obvious from the language and demeanour of the crowd, that it had been sourced from outside. Many of them were Biharis, who are settled here. But the event was stage-managed and the world was told that Kashmiris are cheering Modi.
The truth is that people’s voice was muzzled. The million march rally planned by the separatists, which would have exposed how the ordinary Kashmiri was against Modi, was stopped coercively. Modi went on to announce a package of Rs 80,000 crore for Jammu and Kashmir. But were there any takers?  No. For, he did not utter a word against the growing intolerance in the country. He did not offer any condolence to the bereaved family of the truck drivers who were charred to death by Hindutva fringe elements. In fact, people went around protesting the BJP in the aftermath of the rally. The high-handed regime of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed did not bat an eyelid before asking the police to use extreme measures to quell them. A young boy Gowhar lost his life in the police firing on the same day.
During Congress rule, the state had witnessed tremendous development under the able leadership of Ghulam Nabi Azad. Azad too had batted to secure grants from the Centre. In fact, he had secured grants three times more than what Modi announced on Saturday. And yet, he never publicised it. Because he knew that he was not giving alms to the state. Jammu and Kashmir, like any other state, has a right on the Central funds and this must be given out to her with dignity.
The grant which Modi announced is said to be used for projects sanctioned by the UPA government, which includes the national highway projects and power projects. So basically, the BJP is patting its back for what the Congress had long envisioned. What is shocking is the fact that only a meagre Rs 8000 crore has been earmarked for the aid of flood victims, compared to Rs 44,000 crore demanded by the Congress - National Conference government.
Mufti Sayeed is already feeling the heat for having joined hands with communal forces like the BJP, which is trying to impose theocracy in the country with its controversial diktats of beef ban. He thinks he can make up for his mistake with the announcement of a package. A sum of Rs 80,000 crore is not enough to cover up the overt, totalitarian designs of the PDP and the BJP. People, especially ‘babus’ from the government sectors, may have attended the rally under duress, but they soon made their resentment known. Mufti should understand, he cannot sell the conscience of the Kashmiris to RSS the way the Maharajas had bought this territory centuries ago. We can’t give away Kashmir to brazen, fundamentalists waiting to plunder her resources. People here have given up the gun long ago and most believe in peace. It is time the PDP did something to stop the march of the RSS and its fringe groups in the valley. Else, the price will be exemplary.

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