For the region stripped of its special status on August 5, 2019, the topmost politicians of Jammu and Kashmir, including four former chief ministers, couldn’t bring home any smiles after a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on June 24.
With no assurances from the PM over restoration of statehood, domicile rules, job guarantees or land rights at a meeting that stretched over three hours in the national capital, public reaction was quite visible, right from the streets of Kashmir to the virtual world of social media.
While many are ridiculing the leaders from parties, including National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, Peoples Conference and the Apni Party in particular, others call it a fixed match, which the local politicians had been longing for.
“New Delhi has always breached trust of Kashmiris and local politicians have always been hand-in-glove with the Centre. This time too, New Delhi is trying to show to the international community that all is well in Kashmir and, for that reason, a fixed match was held with Kashmiri politicians in Delhi,” Shahid Ahmad, a college student, told DH.
He also has a word of caution for Kashmiri politicians. “New Delhi even didn’t spare late Sheikh Abdullah, who offered Kashmir on a platter to India. He was jailed, humiliated (in 1953) and when they (New Delhi) felt they needed him again, he was released and given power in 1975. They have been repeating the same formula time and again. But I can’t blame New Delhi as our own politicians are power-hungry,” Ahmad rued.
His views were echoed by Mushtaq Dar, a shopkeeper in old city Srinagar, who believes that politicians are responsible for the mess Kashmir is in. “Speaking one language in Delhi and one in Srinagar has been a hallmark of Kashmiri politicians over the decades and it has not changed. But, now they can’t fool people with their antics anymore,” he said.
NC leader and an influential Shia leader from Budgam, Aga Syed Ruhullah, who had asked some tough questions from the leaders going for the talks, in a tweet said: “A human does not turn himself into a dog for a piece of bone! (sic).”
Dr Khawar Khan, a registrar at Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar while ridiculing Gupkar Alliance leaders, tweeted, “They were a gang 70 years back, they were a gang on August 5, 2019 and they are a gang now. Blood hungry political mafia who have landed us into what we are in (sic).”
Musadiq Shah, a Kashmiri businessman, while ridiculing the Kashmiri politicians, wrote on Facebook: “This hyped meeting was a dictation for delimitation and further elimination of Kashmir.”