Kashmir – Graveyard of Reputations

Rameez Makhdoomi & Farzana Mumtaz

Kashmir is witnessing currently an unprecedented wave of unrest and agitation . Scores are dead, thousands injured and many other blinded due to infamous pellets in the 2016 agitation so far. Just few days back five persons were killed and 18 injured in fresh clashes in the Valley when security forces opened fire on protesters in Budgam district , raising the death toll to 65 in the unrest since the July 8 killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani.

A look at past few Chief Ministers shows how throne of Kashmir is proving to be graveyard of reputations of chief ministers despite touted labels on account of unsettled political issue of Kashmir .

When Ghulam Nabi Azad was sworn in the 10th chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir at the picturesque Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Complex in November 2005 , it was a coronation with  euphoria and hope. He was the first non-kashmir valley Chief Minister of the state.

But in 2008 On 26 May 2008, the government of India and state government of Jammu and Kashmir reached an agreement to transfer 99 acres (0.40 km2) of forest land to the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) in the main Kashmir valley. To set up temporary shelters and facilities for Hindu pilgrims. This caused a controversy, with demonstrations from the Kashmir valley against the land transfer and protests from the Jammu region supporting it. The largest demonstration saw more than 500,000 protesters at a single rally, among the largest in Kashmir’s history. Scores were dead and injured in this agitation mainly in Kashmir valley.

As a consequence of this, Ghulam Nabi Azad   resigned on July 8, 2008 as Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister after withdrawing his confidence motion at a special session of the Assembly.

The State at that time was put under Governor’s rule as no party was ready to stake claim to form a government in view of the Assembly elections in Octoberear that year. With this, the Congress-People’s Democratic Party coalition rule had come to an end.

 

On January 5, 2009, Omar Abdullah became the 11th and the youngest Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir after forming a government in coalition with the Congress party. Tipped as Kashmir’s hope, he began with a clean slate and distanced himself from the political and administrative blunders committed by the previous governments.

But the year 2010 really worsened the reputation of Omar Abdullah as a leader. On June 11, 2010 as Tufail Ahmad Mattoo headed home from a tutoring center where he was studying for the medical entrance exam, a tear gas canister fired from close range bashed a hole in his skull. He died almost instantly. This tragic death led to 125 deaths of mostly young people throughout the Kashmir. For entire summer of 2010, the valley of Kashmir saw naked dance of death and destructions. Curfews and arsons became order of the day. All this resulted in major electoral debacle to Omar Abdullah lead NC in 2014 elections.

On 4th April, 2016 Mehbooba Mufti became the  first woman Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir.PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti was sworn in as the 13th chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir. Hopes were raised once again.

 

And, already the 2016 unrest has taken much sheen out of her rule.

Syed Tajamul Imran, a young activist whole talking to news kashmir said, “Be it Ghulam Nabi Azad, Omar Abdullah or for that matter Mehbooba Mufti all have failed as Chief Minister’s of the state in one or the other respect.  Despite much hyped labels by National Media the unresolved kashmir dispute has made all of them face severe public anger. All these Chief Minister’s have faced serious civil agitations. Whatever be the sensation created especially by national media governing kashmir in peaceful manner is an impossible dream until Kashmir dispute is not settled.”

Political analysis and ground view is that political nature of Kashmir issue is making the governance of state of Jammu and Kashmir a daunting task.

 

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