Ajay Singh | February 6, 2010
Only a year ago young Omar Abdullah rode on the crest of popularity in Jammu and Kashmir generating hope and expectation. But Omar has frittered away all the goodwill that he had accrued from the election which saw an unprecedented 70 percent turnout. Not only he turned out to be administratively inept, he is also inaccessible, ringed with a self-preserving coterie.
In fact the smoke emanating from the valley does indicate that the chief minister is out of touch with the ground realities. He is mistaking rhetoric for substance. There is no denying the fact that the valley is once again in ferment. Two youth were shot on Friday as protests engulfed Sopore and adjoining regions even as Srinagar appears to be under perpetual curfew. Though Omar’s NC won eight assembly seats in Srinagar alone, the ruling party leaders are scared to go to people lest they would be mauled.
Omar handled the mysterious death of two women in Sophian in the most cavalier manner. He allowed the protest to go out of hand with the fond belief that the clamour would subside with the passage of time. The administration’s vacillation fuelled the fire of protest and anger against the government and Mehbooba Mufti made the most of it.
There was hardly any attempt by the state government to soothe the frayed tempers as the separatist Hurriyat Conference started fishing in troubled waters. Even as people’s anger against security forces peaked, the CBI’s findings and selective leakages stoked the fires once again. The CBI concluded that women drowned while in popular perception they were raped and killed by security forces. While the state slipped into serious turmoil, Omar neither mobilized his political organization nor took the effective measures to neutralize the atmosphere of distrust and fear.
In effect the scale of people’s protest is similar to uproar witnessed in the valley and Jammu on the Amaranth shrine issue. The state was divided on communal lines with Jammu taking umbrage to the valley's opposition to developing infrastructure for the pilgrims.
What is worrying is the fact that the masked boys leading the movement now are not agents from across the border. If such a situation is allowed to persist, it will give enough room to Pakistan and its agents to push the valley into yet another round of turmoil after a period of relative calm.
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