Amidst all theatrics around Article 370 and the race of self-crowning messiah’s, the greatest tragedy is that the protagonist who wilfully derailed democracy to establish a democratic-monarchy is the very butcher moaning the lamb and the loudest voice in the room today.
The election rigging of 1987, facilitated by the Congress at the Centre & Abdullah’s as the direct beneficiaries sent the erstwhile state into a free fall, more damagingly causing a collective sense of electoral atheism and a discord with Delhi, one that no policy has managed to bridge so far.
The sequence of events that ensued, witnessed the conversion of mainstream political workers into a wide array of separatists, dissidents and militias created directly at the hands of an over empowered & unchecked regime, the JKNC.For decades, they tweaked and crafted a viable ecosystem, one they politically encashed from Delhi, milked for votes all at the cost of a commoners life. JKPC’s patron, also a mainstream politician who refused to fall in line & accept the Abdullah dogma got thrown in jail and was served years of subjugation for consistently calling out their hand in the 1987 fiasco .In essence it was “plata o plomo”, you were either complicit and with them or in jail getting beaten to pulp. Sajad Lone, has been the “Lone Star” in public awareness activism around the events of 1987, sadly though undersappreciated,misunderstood and heavily vilified.
With the arrival of BJP on the scene and among all the pomp and show, there was great anticipation for course correction & redemption to some extent, however entangled in a hyperbole of ultra nationalist narrative, polarizing obligations in the state and the mainland, lack of acumen, articulation and comical sycophancy among their cadre in the state they’ve failed to take the fight to the enemy. With the overcast of a potential BJP – NC alliance, justice & closure for the events of 1987 is ever more elusive today.
With all parties having held power and failed, Sajad Lone’s fidelity to his beliefs and ideology has remained consistent through testing times and often at the cost of power. For whatever its worth, he’s the last untapped option who may be holding the answer, that’s if elections are held and democracy comes out of coma sometime soon.
An ex top spook,widely seen as a Kashmir expert in a recent interview when asked said “kashmir is a very complicated topic,you need two lifetimes to understand it”. This in the context of a missing popular government and an administrative takeover, a dispensation heavily represented by bureaucrats ‘new’ & not native to Kashmir & under performance pressure, the expectation to undo 1987 is a long shot and quite practically far fetched.
New Delhi must understand that 1987 rigging is the genesis of all the tragedies, some of which we continue to live today. In the hopes that this piece makes it to stakeholders in the power corridors, my earnest appeal to policy makers is to come out of the mindset that Abdullah’s are the necessary evil, they are not. The problem can never be a part of the solution.