Rajnath Singh in J&K: Why his reassurances have not reassured the Valley

The vast majority of the people of Jammu and Kashmir fear that the attack on the state’s special constitutional status is an attempt to “change the demography” of the only Muslim majority state in India.

Written by Bashaarat Masood | Updated: September 14, 2017 4:08 pm
Rajnath Singh, Rajnath Singh J&K visit, J&K special status, Mehbooba Mufti, Farooq Abdullah, J&K government, BJP on J&K special status, Article 35-A Srinagar: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh arrives to address a press conference in Srinagar on Monday. (PTI Photo)

Last Saturday, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh arrived in Srinagar for a three-day visit to the Valley. This was Singh’s fourth visit to Kashmir in a year but, more significantly, it was taking place in the backdrop of attempts to abrogate the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The vast majority of the people of Jammu and Kashmir fear that the attack on the state’s special constitutional status is an attempt to “change the demography” of the only Muslim majority state in India. The BJP has, in the past, vociferously, advocated the repeal of Article 370 and Article 35-A.

In fact, the challenges made to the special constitutional status of J & K in the Supreme Court have come from groups that are close to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). With the BJP in power – both at the Centre and in the state – fears of a “demographic change” have only accentuated. While local mainstream political parties, including both the National Conference (NC) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) have warned against any attempt to undermine the special status of the state, separatist outfits have said these attempts vindicate their stand and have warned of public agitation against such moves.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said, on record, that nobody in Kashmir will hoist the Indian flag if the special status of the state is attacked or changed while NC President and former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah has warned of a revolt “far greater than” the 2008 Amarnath land row agitation.

It is in this context that Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s Valley visit assumed significance. In the Valley, Singh tried to reach out to the people by saying that the central government would not do anything that goes against the sentiments of the people. While most people in the Valley didn’t believe Singh’s assurances, the statement was instantly welcomed by mainstream political leaders, including CM Mufti.

However, a day later in Jammu, Singh was not only noncommittal on filing a counter affidavit in the Supreme Court to defend Article 35-A but added that when he said the sentiments of the people, he meant all the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

This change is being seen by the majority of people in the Valley as a part of vote bank politics. It has also raised doubts about the future of special constitutional status of the state and put a question mark on the sincerity of the BJP leadership. Singh was noncommittal about initiating a dialogue with either the separatists or Pakistan even though he said he is ready to talk to anyone who wants to talk. However, without formally inviting the separatists, there is little chance that a dialogue between New Delhi and separatists can materialize.

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  1. Vertiti Scrutator
    Sep 16, 2017 at 9:26 am
    Disgusting at ude!!!! Bengalis live happily in Bangalore vice versa!!! That is the joy of living like civilized humans!! This tribal way of wanting everything others have (India pays disproportionately huge amounts for the welfare of Kashmiris than any other state - essentially Kashmiris fleece the rest of India for their lifestyle) but not sharing an inch!!! Kashmiri Muslims do move in hordes to US, UK, other countries and other states of India - how will it feel if they weren't welcome in those places of choice!! Even two independent countries allow citizens of other countries to own properties in their country....so, even if Kashmir is an independent country why wouldn't they reciprocate the hospitable gesture of other countries!!! Sickening that some people don't understand the simple tenets of civilized living!!!
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      ash
      Sep 15, 2017 at 10:08 pm
      Muslims never believe in live and let live.Muslims will be loyal to their faith and not the country they live in.Muslim will always at odd with non muslims.they will never integrate with non muslims.today what we see around the world is manifestation of ugly form of hydra headed Islam terrorising people around the world.
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        narasimhababu
        Sep 15, 2017 at 12:06 pm
        Muslims wont live and others let live.
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        1. Sammy Gill
          Sep 14, 2017 at 10:34 pm
          #rajnathsingh was not there for reassuring - there is always hidden agenda. If you check to whom he met and whom meets him....there will be for sure Army , Paramlitary officers and intelligence inputs. There are also news about mehboobamufti twisting #bjp arms ....lets see how saffron brigade handles the heat !
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