By C. Andrew
On 21 November 2018, hours after the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) led by Mehbooba Mufti staked claim to form a government with the backing of rival National Conference and the Congress, the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) Assembly, which was in suspended animation, was abruptly dissolved by the Governor Satya Pal Malik. PDP president Mehbooba Mufti wrote to Governor that her party, which has 29 MLAs backed by the National Conference and the Congress with 15 and 12 legislators, respectively which is more than the required figure of 44 for the formation of government in IOK. The development has created panic in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) camp in the centre, and the assembly was subsequently dissolved to prevent any coalition government against the BJP. The dissolution was announced by the Governor Satya Pal Malik in a communiqué released by the Raj Bhavan.
Earlier, after alleging ruling PDP to be responsible for worsening security situation in IOK, BJP left the ruling coalition and imposed Governor Rule. The BJP, which had allied with PDP in 2015 to rule IOK as BJP had 25 lawmakers, while the PDP had 29 in the state assembly. Resultantly Mehbooba Mufti’s tenure as IOK chief minister came to an abrupt end with a call from then Governor NN Vohra, who informed her that the BJP had pulled out of its alliance with the PDP and the Governor Rule was imposed. That move of BJP government was widely criticised and termed as another attempt to intensify the muscle maniac approach towards poor and miser people of Kashmir. Azad Jammu and Kashmir President Sardar Masood Khan have expressed grave concern over the imposition of Governor Rule in Indian Held Kashmir. In a statement, Masood Khan said that this would further complicate matters because India fails to read the writing on the wall that it cannot resolve the Kashmir dispute through the use of excessive force and state-sponsored violence. It is to mention that the six-month tenure of Governor’s Rule ends on December 18. This will be followed by the President’s Rule. The state assembly’s mandate was till October 2020. Governor’s Rule was clamped in the state on June 19 for six months.
The dissolution of assembly paves the way for fresh elections in the State amid speculation that it could be held with the Indian Lok Sabha polls next year. Reacting to the abrupt dissolution of the assembly, Ms Mufti remarked “Oddly enough our pleas fell on deaf ears. But who would have thought that the very idea of a grand coalition would give such jitters”. Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said that “It is clear that BJP’s policy is either we or nobody”. Former BJP leader and former Union minister Yashwant Sinha said: “the dissolution of the assembly is the latest example of the BJP to not let anyone from the government even if that meant bypassing the Constitution”. BJP leadership in a tweet has maintained that “J&K needs a firm administration to deal with terrorism and not a combination of terror-friendly parties”. BJP’s tweet and rumours of a fresh election with Lok Sabha elections amply expose the mala-fide intentions of the party that IOK will remain a cornerstone of BJP campaigns for next general elections. BJP leadership will harp “anti-Pakistan” rhetoric, and an alarming increase in the suppressive activities of Indian Armed Force will be witnessed in the valley during this winter.
Prominent political leader Sharad Yadav, while reacting on the dissolution of IOK Assembly said that the ending of Assembly after three major parties had come together to form the government in the state amounted to “killing” of democracy. In a statement, he accused the BJP of neither caring for the Constitution nor having any respect for institutions. Whereas the BJP had said the best option in the state is to have fresh Assembly polls at the earliest as it slammed the proposed alliance of opposition parties as a “combination of terror-friendly parties”. Yadav said, “The holding of local body polls in the state recently despite two major regional parties, the National Conference and the People’s Democratic Party, boycotting it made a mockery of democracy”. Yadav asked the central government and the ruling BJP to adhere to the norms laid down in the Constitution and to “not play petty politics for the sake of remaining in power”. “Every action of the government is anti-people,” he alleged.
In an unexpected turn of events in the Valley, discontented BJP leader and former MLA Dr Gagan Bhagat have moved Supreme Court challenging the dissolution of State Assembly by Governor Satya Pal Malik. Terming the Governor, a “liar”, he said there is no Muslim cook at Raj Bhavan in Jammu from the last 30 years, and there is no question of a cook not being available in the Governor house on Eid. Talking to an Indian newspaper, Bhagat termed dissolution of Assembly on
November 21 as “unconstitutional and undemocratic”. “I have moved Supreme Court against the dissolution of the Assembly. The Apex Court will see what is right and wrong, as every fact has to be laid bare before the court,” he said, adding that people would come to know about the shaky ground on which the Assembly was dissolved. The former BJP MLA said people had given legislators mandate of 6 years and Governor cannot act as autocratic and dissolve the Assembly. In IOK, the term of an Assembly lasts for six years. Bhagat said what the guarantee that if fresh elections are held, there won’t be a fractured mandate is. “The situation in Kashmir and Jammu at present indicates that there will be a fractured mandate”. Another former BJP MLA Dina Nath indirectly supported Bhagat going to Supreme Court. “India is a democratic country, and he (Bhagat) has every right to go to any court to challenge a decision which he thinks is not feasible,” he said. Nath said the MLAs had a mandate for six years and they still had two years left. “The MLAs have the problem. We could have carried more development in our constituencies for two years, and it has stopped,” he added. But the Supreme Court has dismissed his petition. The Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice S K Kaul said: “We are not inclined to interfere (with the decision of the Governor)”.
It is reiterated that India’s illegitimate occupation of IHK for over seven decades has been a perpetual source of gross human rights violation and atrocities against innocent Muslims of IOK. IOK has been used by deep Indian state as “an experiment table” since last many decades. The recent crude and cruel experiment was “imposition of Governor Rule” to facilitate the Indian LEAs to further butcher the innocent Kashmiri people under the umbrella of AFSPA. Since the cold-blooded killing of Burhan-and- din Wani in last July, IOK has been witnessing an unprecedented movement and open rebellion against the illegitimate occupation of India. Some sane voices have started questioning Hindu extremist BJP’s strategy to control Jammu & Kashmir. Some have even boldly acknowledged that “The Kashmir crisis is a comprehensive collapse of India’s secular project as a whole”.
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