Many across the country are possibly surprised over the BJP’s pullout from the coalition with the PDP, leading to an abrupt fall of the Jammu and Kashmir government. Now that chief minister Mehbooba Mufti has resigned, the sensitive border state upcountry is in all likelihood heading for President’s rule. The message was loud and the writing clear on the wall in the last few hours ahead of the Tuesdaydrama when the BJP leadership called its J&K leaders to Delhi for urgent consultations.
The flurry of political activities commenced after the central government’s decision to suspend the Ramzan-month ceasefire in the aftermath of the brutal killings of journalist Shujaat Bukhari and his two personal security officers in Srinagar and a rifleman of Rashtriya Rifles in Pulwama, 40 km east of the state capital. These back-t0-back tragedies struck in the run-up to the Eid-ul Fitr festivities. These deaths also generated a sense of sympathy and goodwill for those killed drawing large-scale condemnation from the state, including vehement criticism from some separatist quarters.
The killings also put the Centre in the defensive from the hardliners, who were opposed to union government’s declaration of ceasefire. Such detractors of the Centre’s Kashmir policy implied a soft approach towards the militants, as they apprehended consolidation of hostile forces, in league with Pakistan’s ISI-driven agenda and the subtle support of the separatists to foil the ceasefire, targeting the security forces. Such apprehensions got vindicated.
True, the security forces displayed immense restraint in not retaliating due to ongoing Ramzan as also not to precipitate further problems. But the government at the Centre perhaps assessed that “enough is enough”. Intelligence reports must also have appraised that the morale of the forces would plummet to an all-time low, rendering them dispirited to meet any challenges coming from ISI machinations or plots being executed from across the western border. The BJP, which leads the NDA government at the Centre, in its wisdom and judgement, must have thought this is the most appropriate time to withdraw from the ruling coalition as public opinion and sympathy were now with the government and security forces.
What looks like in the near foreseeable future is an all-out visible action by the armed forces and paramilitary plus the state police to unleash an offensive to create a sense of security among the local population and, at the same time, annihilate the perpetrators of terror.
The next general elections are due within a year; so the government cannot be seen to be lax. Time is now for the action to be seen on ground. The coming days, would, therefore be worth watching, with the intelligence machinery and security forces working in concert to neutralise the hostile elements, bringing peace and tranquil to the deserving people of J&K.
(The writer is a security analyst and a retired IPS officer. He was National Security Advisor to the Republic of Mauritius.)
Story was first published by outlook.com