BJP’s New Year gift for Pakistan?
One cannot in principle question the BJP’s right to unfurl the tri-colour at Srinagar’s clock tower on January 26.What can be questioned are its motives and their possible fallout in the troubled border state barely brought under control after months of street confrontation that wasted so many young lives.
The flag hoisting by the BJP’s youth wing is envisaged as a grand finale of its Kolkata-Srinagar march. A major security challenge to the Omar Abdullah regime, the event could at once be the BJP’s New Year gift to separatists and their cross-LoC backers on the lookout for opportunities to foment violence in the Valley.
In response to Omar’s publicly aired apprehensions, former BJP chief Rajnath Singh, whose influence on his successor Nitin Gadkari is a open secret, has shot off to President Prathiba Patil a letter, arguing that unfurling the flag was a citizen’s right.
There could be no argument on the issue with Singh who only stated the obvious. But he conveniently ignored the threat the march could attract from extremists on the prowl to again set Kashmir on fire. God forbid, but a terrorist attack on the BJP procession could trigger communal conflagrations across the country.
One has seen before a (Hindu) Jammu Versus (Muslim) Srinagar spectacle — that retrospectively proved Jinnah’s two-nation theory correct — at the height of the “Amarnath land transfer” controversy exploited to the hilt by Kashmiri separatists and their supporters in the Valley. The repercussions could be doubly serious at a time elements in the BJP’s mother organization, the RSS, are under probe for what has come to be known as the “Sanghi” version of terror.
Certain Jammu-based Sikh organizations have already sought an explanation from the BJP about the involvement of RSS activists in anti-national activities — including bomb attacks on Mecca Masjid, Ajmer Sharif, Malegaon and the Samjhauta Express. These outfits felt the blasts, for which many Muslims were wrongly arrested and are languishing in jails, were part of an overall Sanghi conspiracy to communalize “secular minded” Hindus for electoral gains. The Jammu Sikhs buttressed their charge by recalling the 1992 demolition of the Barbri Mosque that snowballed into a major communal issue.
But unmindful of the march’s implications on national unity and security, Gadkari is going ahead full-steam. That the effort is partisan and geared at logging miles politically, is clear from his action in commissioning a film eulogizing Sardar Patel and holding Nehru responsible for the Kashmir imbroglio.
The BJP chief is also reportedly egging L K Advani to do a book on Kashmir to resurrect the issue expediently put on the backburner while forming a coalition government in 1998 with parties opposed to scraping article 370. Not surprising the JD-U’s Sharad Yadav has cautioned the BJP against the march. Remains to be seen whether he’d put his foot down or look the other way as the saffron party pushes its communal agenda in the garb of nationalism.