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The “Polar” Bear Hug

By Mohammad Ashraf

24 September, 2015

The “Bear Hug” between PDP and BJP which resulted in a coalition government in J & K seems to have become one sided with the South Polar Bear from Delhi mauling the Northern one right, left and centre!

Before the installation of the present state government Narendra Modi and Mufti Sayed hugged each other and the photograph was splashed all over the media. The hug was supposed to signify warmth of the coalition partners who had worked out a detailed agenda for the alliance. Mufti Sayed had declared that this combination was a meeting of the North and the South Pole which made it a Polar Bear hug! Because of the freezing Poles the hug does not seem to have turned out to be so warm! It is rather freezing cold! In fact, the bear from the South appears to have actually turned out to be more deadly than a “Grizzly Bear” which is supposed to be very ferocious and dangerous.It can severely maul its opponent and even tear it up into shreds! This is precisely what has been happening in the recent past. The Kashmiri bear seems to be getting totally subdued and overpowered by the Delhi bear! The hug had been so strong that it has reportedly affected the health of the Kashmiri bear.

The first mauling occurred with the release of Masarat Alam. In fact, his release had been processed before the takeover by the present government. Mufti Sayed probably thought that this act would somewhat mollify the Kashmiris as they had felt cheated by this combination of the two Poles. Well, Delhi came down heavily and the person had to be rearrested. Then there was a chain of similar actions meant to fulfil the RSS agenda. Another very rough mauling was the arrest of Hurriyat leaders to prevent them from meeting the Pakistan’s National Security Advisor in New Delhi. The arrests were made without the knowledge of the Chief Minister. Subsequently, he intervened to get these released but they were still prevented from meeting the advisor.

Next, were a series of actions apparently from the general public but in fact allegedly motivated by various agencies? The PIL for scrapping the Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution which if conceded, would result in allowing the people from different parts of India to buy land and own property in J & K. This is not presently possible due to the State Subject law enacted by the Dogra Maharaja Hari Singh in 1927. Setting up of so called composite townships for Kashmiri Pandits; settlement of West Pakistan refugees as state subjects; issuing of state subject certificates through Schools in Jammu; encouraging Kashmiris to marry outside state to grant state subject to the spouses and their progeny; settlement of ex-servicemen in Sainik Colonies and a number of other measures which are alleged to be very sophisticated ways of effecting a demographic change. These can be construed as mauling not only by a Polar Bear but rather attacks of a ferocious Grizzly Bear!

The most recent mauling is the PIL in the State High Court filed by a Deputy Advocate General of the State Government from Jammu which resulted in High Court directions for strictly enforcing the ban on beef. Allegedly this has been done to divert attention from other mauling acts. It has very serious communal overtones and has generated lot of heat in the Valley. In fact, a number of political leaders belonging to various mainstream political parties have proposed to introduce a bill in the forthcoming session of the J & K Legislative Assembly to scrap the law banning the production and use of beef. The Speaker of the Assembly has categorically declared that he will not allow introduction of any such bill. In the meantime, VHP has threatened to put an economic blockade on Kashmir if a bill removing ban on beef is introduced. On this Kashmir side has threatened to restart the Muzaffarabad March like the earlier one. The ruling party from Kashmir is still silent about it. In fact, a local cartoonist had depicted their predicament beautifully in a recent cartoon. He had shown Mufti Sayed standing on the branch of a tree with a Trishul (Trident) in hand. He was cutting the very branch on which he was standing with the Trishul! This is exactly what is happening to the Kashmiri component of the present ruling set up? They seem to be cutting their roots in the Valley.

Many intellectuals and prominent members of civil society in their recent writings have alleged that there appears to be a diabolical plan to very clandestinely in a subtle manner to change the demography of the state. This is an alarming apprehension and the ruling set up needs to come clear on this. If they claim to be standing for the dignity and honour of Kashmiris, they may even have to get out of the Polar Bear hug. But the milliondollar question is whether they will do so? However, the historical reality is that the Kashmiri rulers of recent times never leave power voluntarily. They always get thrown out!

Mohammad Ashraf, I.A.S. (Retired), Former Director General Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir)


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