Courting controversies: Blowing the script storm
Views from Srinagar
FSHUJAAT BUKHARI OR the past few months Kashmir has been embroiled in a string of controver sies. Prominent cartoonist Bashir Ahmad Bashir rightly portrayed the government spokesman Naeem Akhtar as “wazir-etardeed” (Minister for Denials) in addition to his original education portfolio. Akhtar called media a few times only to deny one or the other plan that had led to fears in Kashmir. From the proposal of Sainik Colonies to separate enclaves for Kashmiri Pandits to the New Industrial Policy having provision for nonlocals to buy land on lease and temporary shelters for the locals as well as non-local labourers, the current government has been in a fire fighting mode to ward off any possibility of repeat of a 2008 or 2010like situation.
These controversies have come handy for the separatists as well, who after a long time have regrouped apparently shunning their egos and ideological standing vis-a-vis the resolution of Kashmir issue.
They have made a joint call for shutdown on May 26 to protest what they call India’s “anti-Kashmir policies”.
In the past, both the factions of Hurriyat Conference as well as other separatist organizations have had their own course of action.
But the recent weeks have seen a rejuvenated effort to get on a single platform for fighting on these issues if not united by re-stitching the grand alliance as it existed till September 2003.
Not only the separatists, even the mainstream opposition parties viz., National Conference and Congress have used theses controversies to corner the government. The controversies are likely to dominate the budget session of the state legislature which begins on May 25.
For the time being the PDP-BJP government might have succeeded in putting a lid on the boiling pot, but the fact is that political unrest is very much visible. The broad-day attack on policemen by militants in Srinagar on May 23 is seen as a grim reminder of the unfolding situation. At the same time Kashmir is in boom with good tourist season and these audacious attacks by militants are likely to put a dampener. The amalgam of trade bodies— Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA) headed by Mohammad Yasin Khan has rightly warned about a disturbed situation in case the government did not roll back all the plans “aimed at pushing Kashmiris to the wall”.
It is difficult to understand as to why such controversies are raising the head when Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that rules in Delhi has a huge stake in having a smooth government in Jammu and Kashmir. After all it is in coalition with PDP in the state. But the way these sinister games are being played out, it looks like BJP is determined to implement its agenda to keep its vote bank intact and not respect the Agenda of Alliance it has entered with PDP at the time of forming the government in 2015.
The latest addition to the list of controversies is the reported proposal of Ministry of Human Resource Development to introduce Devnagri and Sharda as alternative script for Kashmiri language. Hindustan Times reported on May 16 that MHRD was expected to seek approval of union cabinet to set up a new body— National Council for Promotion of Kashmiri Language with an objective to focus on promoting language in Devnagri and Persio-Arabic script and also attempt to revive their forerunner – Sharda.
This development has evoked outrage from Kashmir’s civil society comprising writers, poets, academicians, journalists, businessmen and lawyers who see it as a conspiracy to undermine the existing script. The move by MHRD is the outcome of the lobbying by a section of Kashmiri Pandits who want to dislodge the current Persio-Arabic (Nastaliq) script identifying it with Muslims. —Courtesy: Rising Kashmir