Tense valley, Uri attack and cracks in PDP test Mehbooba

RSTV Bureau
Srinagar: J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti paying tributes to the Army soldiers killed in Urri attack, at a ceremony in Srinagar, September 19, 2016. Photo - PTI

Srinagar: J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti paying tributes to the Army soldiers killed in Urri attack, at a ceremony in Srinagar, September 19, 2016.
Photo – PTI

These are extremely testing times for Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. With the valley reeling under tension due to clashes between the stone-pelting local protestors and security forces, the attack on Army camp in Uri has only increased worries for the state government.

Coupled with this, her party – the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – is hit by a crack with two of its leaders leaving the fold last week.

Last week saw the founder member and Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Tariq Hameed Karra quitting the party and his Parliamentary seat. His reason: the party has deviated from its principals and the alliance with the BJP hasn’t helped the matters either.

“My heart is bleeding and my soul is crying for the people of my homeland. My conscience cannot take it any longer,” Karra had said announcing his resignation.

He had further alleged the central and state governments of adopting insensitive and adhoc approach towards Kashmir issue and continuing to deny the dangerous ground realities. He had also alleged that the government is engaged in blatant policy of dealing with Kashmiris by way of “oppressive, repressive and suppressive measures”.

FILE: Srinagar: Security forces personnel on guard during a clash with the protesters after they defied curfew in Srinagar, September 13. 2016. Photo - PTI

FILE: Srinagar: Security forces personnel on guard during a clash with the protesters after they defied curfew in Srinagar, September 13. 2016.
Photo – PTI

In another setback to the PDP, party leader Nisar Ahmad Mandoo on Sunday resigned from the party citing “anti-people” policies of BJP-PDP coalition in the state as a reason for his resignation.

“I am resigning from the basic membership of the PDP as I cannot side with the bloodbath of Kashmiris,” Mandoo told the press.

The senior leader, who was senior vice president of the party’s Srinagar unit, added further saying, “The party (PDP) was formed to protect the lives and political dignity of people but today the party has deviated from these principles”.

Central to both the leader’s angst was the spike in the tension in Kashmir valley, where more than 80 people have been killed in clashes between the protestors and the security forces. The valley and parts of southern Kashmir remains locked under curfew after protests broke out post the encounter killing Hizbul commander Burhan Wani, who had also emerged as the poster-boy of new militancy wave.

Mehbooba’s PDP got into an alliance with BJP after 2014 Assembly polls threw a scattered verdict. The alliance was sealed with Mehbooba’s father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed taking over as the Chief Minister after working out a common minimum programme with the BJP.

FILE: New Delhi: File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti at a meeting in New Delhi, August 27, 2016.  Photo - PTI

FILE: New Delhi: File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Mehbooba Mufti at a meeting in New Delhi, August 27, 2016.
Photo – PTI

The test of alliance, however, began after Mufti Sayeed’s sudden demise early this year. Showing reluctance for three months, Mehbooba finally agreed to continue the government run by two ideologically disparate parties.

And recently, the PDP-BJP government came in for another round of criticism from a surprising quarter.

Saying that the state government be “dismissed”, senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy demanded the imposition of President’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Initially we, the BJP government thought that since we won Jammu and Ladakh and the PDP won Kashmir, we should experiment. But many people, including I, believe that the experiment has failed… (The Mehbooba Mufti government should) not just resign, this government should be dismissed,” Swamy said at an event organised by the Delhi-based media group India Today.