BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani had adumbrated in the 12th Lok Sabha on what he considered the nub of the Kashmir imbroglio. He said its genesis lay in post-Partition India “negating Jinnah’s two-nation theory by declaring itself a non-denominational secular State”.
That was in 1998. In the run-up to AB Vajpayee’s 2001 Agra Summit with Pervez Musharraf, then External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh extended further the Advani thesis. “What they (Pakistan) consider the core dispute is in fact at the core of our nationhood.”
The reference again was to the secular plinth of the Indian State. And the force it lent to our territorial claim on a Muslim-majority Kashmir. All that is in a shambles now on the streets of Jammu and Srinagar. The mob mania over a hundred acres of land for the Amarnath shrine has in one stroke ceded to the separatists the political ground they so desperately sought after the 2002 poll boycott that brought home discomfiting questions about their support-base.
The land-use deal’s abrupt cancellation to placate sentiments in the Valley incited Jammu into letting faith take precedence over national interest. In the resultant frenzy, the mobs and their proxy-controllers from the Hindutva stock lost sight of Bharat mata and its attot ang. Parliamentary wisdom stood overwhelmed by street power.
The mobocracy mercifully stopped short of replicating Gujarat or 1984 in Jammu. But it rekindled the two-nation concept — that helps the pro-Pak Hurriyat foment fanatic sub-nationalism — amid outlandish claims of a conspiracy to alter the Valley’s demography and allegations of its economic blockade by Jammu. The Sangharsh Samiti’s refusal to countenance Kashmiri leaders at the negotiating table only helped boost the patently false accusations.
In the middle of it all, the squabbling Hurriyat leaders closed ranks and Mehbooba Mufti’s PDP deserted the pro-India forces’ peace efforts to join the separatists in their march to Muzaffarabad. Once the security forces opened fire at the misguided fruit-growers headed for PoK, the debate wasn’t about the future of Jammu and Kashmir. The discourse denigrated to Jammu or Kashmir; its divisive echoes heard even at an all-party stock-staking session in Delhi’s North Block.