The prevailing tension in Kashmir Valley is not only challenging for the Mehbooba led state government, but has also vindicated the regional wedge between coalition partners viz PDP and BJP.
Following the death of Hizbul commander-Burhan Wani, the situation in Kashmir valley deteriorated, which is intensifying with each passing day and the death toll so far has crossed the mark of 40 in eight days. When it is turning difficult for the ruling PDP to handle the situation, its coalition partners in Jammu-BJP is showing ‘cold shoulder’ to the events in Kashmir, which vindicates the regional wedge two parties carry with them.
Since the death of Burhan Wani, the Valley is on boil and a question is how long it will take for Mehbooba to normalize the situation. Though, she has directed officials (Civil and Police) and Ministers along with legislators to reach out to the people to restore peace and normalcy, but nothing seems to be working.
It is pertinent to mention here that this coalition (PDP-BJP) has already faced two major incidents — first a trouble at National Institute of Technology (NIT) in Srinagar and then clashes in Handwara that left four people dead in police firing.
The two parties with different ideologies and expectations had promised that this merger would be to resolve pending issues of the state and this government should not be for any particular region. Both the parties claimed that they are working for the state, but seeing the silence of Jammu based party over the violence in Kashmir nullifies the claims of the coalition partners. Same silence was opted by the Kashmir based PDP when last year Jammu faced such kind of violence.
Earlier, the PDP had succeeded in weaning over large sections of young people in south Kashmir to the objectives of peace, stability and prospective prosperity. This had happened most strongly since about the middle of the previous decade, and continued until a couple of years ago. In fact, after the Lok Sabha elections in May 2014 and before the floods that September, party Chief Mehbooba Mufti had appeared cock-sure of victory across south Kashmir; assembly elections were due by year-end.
It is particularly ironic that nationalists are prominent among those who rail against the PDP’s alleged ‘soft line’ with terrorists like Burhan. For, it is the PDP’s decision to form a coalition government with the BJP after the 2014 elections that damaged its popularity the most – and boosted militancy, and shades of Islamism.
The black-and-white insistence that the PDP must `crush terrorism’ misses the point that the PDP competes at the ground-level with not only the National Conference and the Congress, but also the Jamaat-e-Islami and Salafist pan-Islamism. Salafism has made the most rapid strides in that region in the past couple of years. On the other hand, the NC, which had already been weak in south Kashmir, lost further ground between 2008 and 2014, when it led the state government.