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Only and only BJP can fix Kashmir, all other forces are compromised

Posted on Thursday, 4 February 2016 No comments
"Mufti's daughter Mahbooba, being youthful and impulsive, played in the hands of separatists. In fact she became the link between the separatists and her father. Anti-India dramatics endeared her to separatists and she made startling success in strengthening her party not only in Kashmir but in Jammu region also ..." writes Kashinath Pandit



Mahbooba Mufti’s predilection for projecting herself as a Kashmiri alienated from India is her old gimmick.  In all probability, New Delhi is more amused than concerned about the tantrum she has begun to exude regarding conditions for forming coalition government with BJP after the demise of her father.

Peoples Democratic Party was born from the womb of militancy when it was at its peak in Kashmir in 1999. After the fall of Janata government in New Delhi, late Mufti Sayeed was left stranded in the musical chair of Kashmir politics. He had left Congress long back and Janata Party, after its meteoric rise, soon died its natural death.

He found the rise of militancy in Kashmir opening up a chance for him to enter Kashmir politics from the backdoor. An adept in the nitty-gritty of local politics of Kashmir, he wooed separatists, militants and pro-Pak elements holding out to them the lollypop called ‘self-rule.’ What that actually meant on the ground, neither he cared to explain nor his new-found followers in PDP were seriously interested to know. The loud promise of giving a corruption-free administration had subtle NC angle. He played anti-dynastic rule card while grooming his daughter for bigger political role.

His daughter Mahbooba, being youthful and impulsive, played in the hands of separatists. In fact she became the link between the separatists and her father. Anti-India dramatics endeared her to separatists and she made startling success in strengthening her party not only in Kashmir but in Jammu region also.

The rise of PDP as counterbalance to entrenched National Conference was something unexpected for New Delhi.  With each passing day Congress was feeling uneasy with NC. Political commentators and policy planners in New Delhi thought it a healthy development that would go a long way in strengthening the roots of democracy in Kashmir.  No wonder, therefore, if PDP received covert support from New Delhi for aspiring to become a formidable rival to National Conference. The late Mufti was not serious about raking up the issue of Kashmir’s political finality. But Mahbooba, as the chief organizer for the party, drew good mileage out of India bashing antics which New Delhi chose to overlook in the totality of Kashmir politics and for obvious reasons.

The separatists and secessionists as well as the protagonists of militancy want their pound of flesh now when Mufti Sayeed is no more on the scene. As long as he was there, he had, through his Machiavellian balancing act, kept them under leash. Mahbooba has neither the depth nor maneuverability of her father.

Additionally, hawks within the PDP are aspiring for plum portfolios as they fix their eyes on eighty thousand crore package announced by the Prime Minister for J&K. With the exit of Mufti, anti-corruption roadblock has been put aside.

Calling the Agreement of Alliance a sacred document on the one hand and dumping it and opening new negotiation for government formation exposes PDP’s dichotomy. The rhetoric of “trust deficit” with the Centre has no takers. Recall that Mufti Sahib had said that no Prime Minister of India was as generous and frugal for Kashmir as Narendra Modi has been. This shows that Mufti Sahib’s daughter has the least respect for what her father stood for. She has become a prisoner of circumstances and she is face to face with the Frankenstein she created.

As for Jammu BJP, it has had a chequered history. After dismissing the old party structure on the eve of last parliamentary elections, and the massive mandate from Jammu electorate, people trusted that the time had come when discrimination against Jammu region would be done away with.

Unwittingly, misled by acquiescent politics, New Delhi’s sudden and rapid shift in AIIMS episode did unimaginable damage to the credibility of BJP in Jammu. Despite desperate damage controlling efforts by powerful leadership, matters never improved. Mishandling of this issue revealed how much immature BJP was in understanding the nuances of Kashmir politics.

Jammu BJP gave more cause for despair. Nothing tangible has been done in the case of PoK refugees. Moreover, dim-witted silence of BJP MLAs in the legislative assembly over the row on concentrated rehabilitation of valley displaced persons confirmed BJP’s tremendous capacity for servility and submission to the party that had majority in the house only theoretically and not demonstrably. BJP constituencies in Jammu found their election fervor sliding back to square zero.

Now that PDP is dictating terms and listing conditions --- most of these humiliating, the ball is in the court of BJP. If it still remains glued to policy of acquiescence, then all that one can say is please roll up the map of Kashmir, you don’t need to look at it any more.

Written by Kashinath Pandit

Author is a former Director of the Centre of Central Asian Studies Kashmir University. He represented Kashmir IDP case at UN HRC, Geneva from 1991 to 2005. He is a freelance journalist and a human rights activist being the Secretary General of an NGO with ECOSOC status.

Minus BJP, politics of Kashmir could take a very dangerous turn, very soon

Posted on Saturday, 30 January 2016 No comments
Emboldened by dissenters within, the separatist and secessionist groups in the valley have tightened their stranglehold around PDP. They are buoyed up by two perceptions. First is that Mahbooba has not the depth and maneuverability of her late father to hold them in check, and second she has all through played in their hands more than anybody else in the party. They know the time has come for them to demand the pound of flesh. The lady is face to face with her Frankenstein.


Three weeks have gone by when J&K chief minister Mufti Sayeed breathed his last. His successor should have been announced forthwith and the new government cobbled together without loss of time. It has not happened.

Mehbooba Mufti, daughter of the late chief minister, an MP and President of her party (PDP), took time to come out of mourning. However, even after the days of mourning were over, the party took another two weeks to decide that Mahbooba would lead the party in the legislature.

The Governor asked the coalition partners to inform him about the next step. While BJP stuck to the stipulation in the Agreement of Alliance that the chief minister would be from PDP, PDP asked for more time to nominate the chief ministerial candidate. As stalemate continued, the Governor’s rule followed in normal course of things.

When the house of late chief minister was in a state of mourning, seniors of national and regional level political parties, notwithstanding whether they were pro or anti Mufti, visited the house to convey their condolence. After all Mufti Sahib commanded respect as senior leader.

Conspicuous among the visitors was Ghulam Nabi Azad, the leader in opposition in the Rajya Sabha, followed by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi. We may recollect that Congress government in the State fell when after completing his tenure Mufti Sayeed pulled the rug under its feet in 2005.

Media hawks speculated something more than mourning in the air at the residence of late Mufti. In reply to a question, Azad said that he and his CEO had come only to convey condolence and no political undertones need to be speculated.

With 12 Congress MLAs in the Legislative Assembly and 28 of its own, PDP+ Congress could make 40 seats. Four more could be managed to stake claim to government after hanging lollypop to the lumpen... However, any rebound like that could not be without intriguing consequences. The lady had the second thought.

Coalition with NC was out of question for two reasons. One is their deep-seated rivalry bordering on animosity. Late Mufti would not mince words saying his mission was to oust the dynastic rule of NC.

Nevertheless, the caveat is in place that in politics there are neither permanent friends nor permanent foes. The second clinching reason was that if NC-PDP coalition was agreed upon what would be Omar Abdullah’s position? He would not settle for anything less than Chief Minister.

As days passed by, amusing gossips began making turns.  The media reported that PDP was proposing at least five conditions if the old coalition arrangement was to be revived. These were: dropping the post of Deputy Chief Minister, giving some important portfolios to PDP, Centre sanctioning two lakh crore rupees as financial package to the State, no raking up of sensitive issues, and BJP reinforcing the commitment of not diluting Article 370 and 35 A. There could be more conditions in the kitty of PDP that did not trickle down.

Officially, PDP and BJP both desisted from making any allusion to these rumours.  However, in reply to a question from media persons, BJP General Secretary said that some complaints of PDP could be discussed but only after the party announced its chief ministerial candidate. Hush hush atmosphere prevailed.

PDP President Mahbooba called at her residence in Srinagar a conclave of all PDP legislators including ex-ministers and party echelons down to the level of halqa presidents. She had planned to meet with Jammu region PDP leadership in Jammu and even the date was also announced but it has been cancelled at the eleventh hour.

What necessitated PDP President to summon entire PDP organizational cadres? Is she sensing dissension among a section of the party seniors? The one to one meeting between her and a party founder- member Tariq Hamid Kara is variously interpreted, particularly in the light of Tariq’s recurrent outburst that New Delhi is interfering in Kashmir’s internal matters. We should not forget that PDP is born from the womb of militancy. Any recounting of the antecedents of some of its known seniors will only disappoint the reader.

The news trickled down that Mahbooba will be meeting with BJP chief Amit Shah to sort out things. Does she want Shah to bail her out as internal dissension in PDP is gaining momentum? Actually, dissension within was there when Mufti was on the scene but his Machiavellian handling of personalities and situations had kept it under wraps...  Interestingly, the PM did not summon PDP President for assessment of current situation in the State, thereby belying hopes of the lady that the PM would counter balance Congress chief’s visit to Srinagar.

What is the drama going on behind the curtains? Why is not PDP content with the Agreement of Alliance which the party founder and chief minister had forged and signed? Are there no qualms of conscience of rubbishing the wishes of the departed leader so early and so unceremoniously?

It shows the party is in deep dilemma; the proverbial ‘to do or not to do’. What is the dilemma, let us peal the beans

Emboldened by dissenters within, the separatist and secessionist groups in the valley have tightened their stranglehold around PDP. They are buoyed up by two perceptions. First is that Mahbooba has not the depth and maneuverability of her late father to hold them in check, and second she has all through played in their hands more than anybody else in the party. They know the time has come for them to demand the pound of flesh. The lady is face to face with her Frankenstein.

PDP President’s dilemma is dimensional. Late Mufti Sayeed’s insistence on New Delhi to resume talks with Pakistan was his shrewd way of holding olive branch to the separatists, secessionists and militants in Kashmir. He did not want to lag behind NC’s similar antics. But this gambit is lost to Mahbooba owing to Pakistan-based JeM’s attack on Pathankot air base. The attack has demolished the status of Kashmir leadership asking for resumption of talks with Pakistan.

The rising crescendo of ISIS and its expansion by stealth to the Indian sub-continent including Kashmir has made her position tenuous. Kashmir separatist-secessionist leadership basking in the sunshine of Indian largesse --- a la Dulat’s revelations ---- can hardly prove they are Mr. clean. How are ISIS’ cannibals going to treat them is a matter of serious concern for the PDP President.

Therefore, the separatists and secessionists find it opportune time to bring full pressure on her via the dissenting insiders to pander to their agenda.

A bid for fresh elections, though usually fraught with uncertainty, could swing in favour of PDP but then Mahbooba will not be at the helm unless she identifies herself with the outright anti-India chapter...

The BJP’s overview did not go beyond power sharing. Delivery was a casualty. And of course, the coalition never delivered. Jammu BJP, following its dubious role in AIIMS episode, should not expect bouquets from its constituencies.

This being the scenario, the crumbling PDP and emaciated BJP, both have the common cause of clinging to power at any cost. More skullduggeries will go in forging new alignment. Bandaged in dilemmas, the lady needs to seek advice from seasoned and sane seniors within the party who have discounted India-bashing as the way to win cheap and ephemeral popularity.

Written by Kashinath Pandit

Author is a former Director of the Centre of Central Asian Studies Kashmir University. He represented Kashmir IDP case at UN HRC, Geneva from 1991 to 2005. He is a freelance journalist and a human rights activist being the Secretary General of an NGO with ECOSOC status.

Sushma Swaraj cares ... Indian lives are important, here's proof ... #acchedin

Posted on Friday, 29 January 2016 No comments


A friend delivered at just about 6 months, prematurely while on a business trip to the U.S. Post delivery, the medical authorities insisted that the husband be flown in asap. The baby was transferred to a specialty hospital, where she will remain till May 2016.

The husband got in touch with my friend's company, a know IT organisation, where the responses ranged from rude to helpful. All this while, another friend of ours, who was also the one who got her immediate medical attention when she started showing signs of early delivery, was the only one beside her.

Many of us, here in India, were constantly checking with our friends and relatives in the US, to see if anybody can help her with the legal formalities in her case. Meanwhile, another friend of ours sent a tweet to our External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

And voila, an official from our consulate was sent to meet my friend within 24 hours. He called up the company and advised them on the course of action ahead.

I'm speechless, and overwhelmed by the attention my friend got in the US almost immediately after the tweet we sent over from India.

For a mother, who has already gone through the most difficult challenge, without any support to calm her nerves, being all alone in a country she was to leave 24 hours later - this prompt action by the Indian Consulate is more than a mere duty on their part.

Mothers usually term such unprecedented kindness as 'God's Grace' and God's grace it was - relayed by Twitter and put to execution by the Consulate of India.

Written by Yamini Bagde

Posted on her Facebook wall here

Gay rights in India can only be delivered through court

Posted on No comments
The question is what should those people do who from the inside out are convinced they’re gay, whose sexual systems just beat for the same gender, should they just suppress it all, and marry? Will that just make it ok? Won’t that be fraud for their respective straight partners? So, is the state facilitating a fraud?



It was a huge climb-down for the Indian judiciary and the society as a whole to have re-criminalize homosexuality. First it was an understanding that it was unnatural, but everybody knew it happens and it’s not hurting anybody, unless it steps into the weird and criminal territory of child abuse and prostitution. Then it was made acceptable by the court, and some groups may have cried foul but that died down too. An equilibrium had reached, and considering the global standard of developed world - it was on the right track.

Then the court did a U-turn over a technicality and left the matter on the parliament. It’s a tragedy really. I mean, many had started coming out of the closet. But can you really rely on a parliament whose existence hangs on hundreds of different religious compulsions, to make the existence of an entire section of population, a sexual minority, legal? It is never going to happen. Only the judiciary could have done it, and it backtracked.

Criminalizing gay people is plain wrong. Even if it’s a ‘mental illness’ like many traditionalists claim, it’s still not criminal, unless there’s rape. It’s a separate debate, if homosexuality is considered mainstream, like there’s an entire movement in the west to make all things, all argument, all culture, gay friendly. Nobody needs to do that, not right now, who knows, if ever? That is social and organic.



What the reality is - dignity and legal status. The question is what should those people do who from the inside out are convinced they’re gay, whose sexual systems just beat for the same gender, should they just suppress it all, and marry? Will that just make it ok? Won’t that be fraud for their respective straight partners? So, is the state facilitating a fraud?

A society may grow at its pace to accept sex and various shades and aspects of sexual lives of people. A society can be open or prudish. Religion may argue that sexuality is nothing but a hurdle in their spiritual objectives. But a state and her legal system can’t be allowed to maintain ignorance over something as universal as sex. So, majority can’t rule this, hence democracy may fail at reaching a just solution. It is the court’s job, if the real-world governance fails at achieving the ideal. And it must deliver.

Written by Ishaan Mohan Bagga

Why municipal corporations need to be done away with

Posted on No comments
smart cities but how - municipalities are the center of corruption

Center and state politics is constantly under the scanner for it’s policies and their execution in media. From actual corruption to mere whiff of misappropriation gets highlighted instantly. However, what the common public suffers the most is at the hands of municipal corporations.

At least in cities, large amount of public funds and day-to-day governance is completely at the mercy of these municipal corporators, who are largely unaccountable post elections since municipality level scrutiny is way too granular for the media. So at most, when you hear of them is either on 4th page of the daily newspaper, or in national media when something drastically wrong happens.

Rest of the time, the municipal corporations is the area of democracy which thrives in corruption completely under the radar. It’s a gray-zone where local strongmen try to polish their political bases, and make a lot of money in the process. In addition to the much frowned upon education tour junkets that you hear of in national media these days, this job is a vacation indeed; while the public suffers in silence.

This is an anomaly in the system - everybody needs to be accountable, especially when they’re handling public funds. Yes, a system of accountability has been largely absent in our humongous democracy. But it still works organically because round-the-clock media coverage, overly shrill opposition, a narrative of perpetual cynicism in the system does that job. Public representative has the need to be accountable in some form, to some extent - you can’t be entirely shameless and walk by. Not in this age of social media powered media.

This self-operating system which works on the “fear of being watched” completely breaks down in case of municipal corporations. Nobody is watching them, nobody is assessing their performance, a page 4 news item about yearly water logging, ever clogged drains, broken roads, breeding mosquitoes doesn’t budge anyone. It’s so bad, that municipalities are expected to be inefficient.

Unless, something drastic or tragic happens, nobody bats an eye-lid. Some road accident due to a broken road, some dead kid due to an open pit, some rape due to dark street, some 2000 people dead due to dengue on a yearly basis, some super expensive vacation junket … and then you should see these corporators come up with most shameless defenses.

The problem is not with corrupt inefficient good-for-nothing corporators. The problem is with the system which has entirely over-looked accountability in this arm of governance. And, ironically it impacts the lives of the common man the most.

The question is why elect? 

A job which should go in the hands of professionals doesn’t need elected representatives. A country whose democracy is ridden with politics whose foundation is caste, religion and political compulsions, a job which is so close to the ground needs to be in the hands of experts, whose performance can be assessed more often and outside an election.

Now, we’re talking about smart cities - can we achieve these objectives, without streamlining the municipal corporations? Why not privatize here? Why not do this experiment with the new smart cities? We don’t need municipal corporations, we need disruptive start-ups which can transform city management. A system which is more accountable for performance in real time, and which can be replaced easily, if needed, and you don’t have to wait for the elections.

Written by Ishaan Mohan Bagga

Hatred for India in Pakistan is like cancer, impossible to treat - cricket diplomacy is a trap

Posted on Thursday, 28 January 2016 No comments
No the actual image of Umar Draz
Pak has been begging for ages how India must forget the myriad of terror attacks, rampant proxy war, unprovoked firings on the borders, beheading of our soldiers, 26/11 and promote the feeling of brotherhood and friendship - so the people who are culturally similar can connect and talks of peace can progress. And the tool to achieve that is playing cricket.

Congress hoodwinked Indian population for a whole decade to maintain it’s Muslim dominated vote bank (a large portion of which holds a soft corner for Pak, if not complete allegiance) by rapidly engaging in cricket diplomacy as an answer to all troubles, while constantly shirking the responsibility to talk terror with Pakistan.

Not a rare site in Kashmir





We allowed Pak-friendly Kashmiris to raise anti-India slogans, furl Pak flags, ISIS flags - openly daring the Indian establishment. Valley people, as it is heard, are not very happy with PDP to have allowed the Jammu sentiments to be respresented in the assembly by getting along with BJP.

Can you really play sports during war? Proxy war is real war - it’s not an imagination, not a propaganda. And however unpleasant it may sound, it’s a good possibility that all these positive gestures that Pakistan intermittently extends towards India are very much a part of the same proxy war strategy.

Recently a 22 year old, barely read, die-hard fan of Virat Kohli was arrested in Pakistan for furling India’s flag during Ind-Aus series. This is the real attitude of Pakistan towards India - and not just their army, their government and their judiciary.

Can India expect this Hindu-hater radicalized judiciary to give justice on 26/11? If it was possible wouldn't it have happened by now? It took their court 3 days to complete the judicial proceeding to punish a cricket fan - Umar Draz, that was good lesson for you, and for all those who made the mistake of taking “let’s be friends” antics of Nawaz Sharif seriously.



Clowns like Sudheendra Kulkarni, Mani Shankar Aiyar and Ved Pratap Vaidik - who cry tears on how Pak is not “all that bad” … suddenly vanish when incidents like this happen.

The real reason for Pak’s insistence to play cricket with India is monetary. And to present to international community that it’s not all that bad in the sub-continent. I mean, if they can play sports, then the problem of terrorism can’t be that bad right?

Written by Ishaan Mohan Bagga

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