Out of power, favorite recreation of opposition parties

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Bharti Jasrotia

With BJP led NDA government retreating center’s stand over revocation of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir, various political outfits have begun talking about how PDP has sold its manifesto for being in power in Jammu and Kashmir.

This exactly what PDP used to do when NC was in power with congress from 2009-2014.We would often get hand outs issued by PDP leaders lambasting NC of having compromised with New Delhi purely for being in power.

From reminding NC of its pledges and promises to blaming it for all the ills in Jammu and Kashmir, PDP would miss no opportunity to ridicule the then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. And, while PDP was busy in criticizing Omar the then Chief Minister had on two occasions claimed that revocation of AFSPA was a matter of days. On one such occasion he had gone to the extent of saying that AFSPA is being revoked in within a day or two.

Such was his confidence on New Delhi that he had even readied a draft which he was planning to share with media immediately after New Delhi announcing withdrawal of AFSPA from some areas of Jammu and Kashmir. When nothing happened he then talked about law being amended to make it more humane with checks and balances to prevent its misuse.

Omar had then anticipated that New Delhi would at-least either revoke AFSPA from certain areas or amend it so that he is able to sell this in his Kashmir constituency. But with Defense ministry opposing this move on the ground that there was continuous support terror infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir from Pakistan, Omar had no option but to accept defeat and fall silent.

An year after Omar demitted office, Defense ministry while replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha admitted that Jammu and Kashmir government had twice approached it for revocation of AFSPA between the year 2011-2013, thus proving that Omar was seriously working towards either removal or amendment of the AFSPA law.

This saved Omar’s grace in valley and he is now telling his people back home how serious he was in getting AFSPA revoked. But, with him being out of power, the task left with his party is not to press for removal or amendment of the Act but criticized PDP for having promised its revocation during the campaign trail and after coming to power, refusing to even speak about AFSPA. Any statement of the Union minister or reply to questions either in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha over AFSPA is likely to provide ammunition to NC to target PDP.

The blame game will repeat and the only difference is that the party which has to take all the blame for all the ills of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir. But the bottom line is that no one is serious about reducing cost of human life in Jammu and Kashmir. More than AFSPA it is the impunity enjoyed by corrupt and inefficient police officers which is hurting the system. AFSPA is merely a political ploy which one party uses to browbeat other and score political brownies.

PDP did it when they were out of power and now NC is following suit this does not augur well in a state which is battling both developmental deficiencies and cross border terror. A top military strategist said that while India cannot withdraw or amend AFSPA due to continued proxy war from across the LOC, even Pakistan does not want the Act to be revoked for obvious reasons.

He added that AFSPA helps Pakistan to sing the song of oppression in Jammu and Kashmir all over the globe while this Act ensures that army is able to operate freely against terrorist and their sympathizers.

He also added that it is the double edged sword but Defense ministry has no option but to continue with AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir toll cross border terror does not stop all together. Amid this scenario it is imparity upon the political parties to stop making AFSPA the war cry and concentrate or criticizing the government where it deserves to be criticized.

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