The horrendous episode in Kathua is allegedly having some hidden objectives. It has been given out by some that the conspiracy, kidnapping, rape and murder of the eight year old Bakerwal girl was to drive away the Bakerwals from the land. However, in an interview with Barkha Dutt on Quint, Advocate Talib Hussain says that the land is not the issue. The Bakerwals are never interested in owning land permanently at a place. They are always on the move. They need the land only for the grazing of their cattle. They have been regularly paying for the land as grazing charges to the real owners. They stay in winter in Jammu and in summer they move to Kashmir and some even to Kargil and Zanskar. According to Talib Hussain the entire episode had been to create a communal issue. From the very start a Hindu Ekta Munch was started with top politicians including ministers leading it, giving the impression that the whole issue was a Hindu-Muslim issue. Why could not the interested people set up a Jammu Ekta Munch? Why a Hindu, a religiously oriented organization? Apparently the aim was to communalize the Jammu atmosphere with some ulterior long term motives.
These days there is a debate going on as to what would be BJP’s plank for the 2019 Parliament Election? Some say it will be welfare of the people. The last election’s main plank was the development or vikas. However, BJP has as per overall assessment of different experts miserably failed in providing vikas. On the contrary, some of the so called revolutionary and drastic measures have adversely affected the majority of the people. The demonetization and the imposition of GST have virtually devastated the lower classes. Moreover, one was expecting jobs but these too are nowhere! On the contrary, the corporates have not only fattened themselves but some of them have run away with thousands of crores of peoples’ money deposited in the banks! Indian economy is not in a very good shape as observed by many global economists.
Even though the slogan in Gujarat was,“Jeetega Bhai, Jeetega! Vikas hi Jeete ga!!”which means “Development and only development would win” but there is doubt if this slogan will move the people during the next election. Vijay Dandiwalla says in an observation on the topic in Quora,“ BJP will begin 2019 election on Development Plank … But Opponents, who will have no other issue, will force BJP to drag BJP in the dragnet of Hindutva ..The scenario will be something similar to Mahabharata War, which started in the name of Dharma but ultimately won through Adharma on the pretext of preserving Dharma …” It is said that in India a wave decides the Parliament election. However, it may be too early for a wave. In the meantime, RSS has been trying to create conditions for starting the thing at which they are past masters and that is a Hindutva Wave. The preparations for starting the construction of Ram Temple in Ayodhya could be one of the important elements for this wave as the destruction of the Babri Masjid was for the last wave!
Again as an answer to the question, “What will be the outcome in the 2019 general election? Posed in Quora, Snehamoy Roy observes, “From the continuing painful deaths in Gorakhpur and around and the BJP act as if nothing had happened, to the multiple gau raksha vigilantes and BJP’s tacit support, the public has been quite agitated. You can try to corner Hindu votes by branding yourself as a Hindu party; but you can’t make Hindus rejoice deaths and killings. Hindus would then rather vote for anyone else.And that’s exactly what’s happening. From Delhi University elections to JNU elections to Allahabad University elections to the Gurdaspur elections to the Gurgaon Municipal elections, it’s been a spate of back-to-back humiliating losses for the BJP!Add to that the global criticism on the failure around demonetization, the massively criticised poor implementation of the GST and the attempts to hijack the Congress-initiated Aadhar scheme through over-the-top hype, have converted the three biggest flagship steps of the BJP in three years into nationwide jokes.
As it is, the Putin-type building of oligarchs in India that has been taking place like never before in the last three years, has been hitting BJP’s image quite hard, with everyone questioning the Adanis, Ambanis and Ramdevs. But nothing has hit BJP harder than the latest Shah-n-Shah of all problems. The entire BJP story was built upon the narrative of “neither will I become corrupt, nor will I let anyone else become corrupt”. Whatever explanations the defamation suits are filled with now, the Rs.50, 000 to Rs.80 crore story of Amit Shah’s son has caused BJP the maximum irreversible damage. The jokes are flying thick and thin and no one will ever believe the non-corruption narrative of BJP again.”
There is no better place to start the stirring of the cauldron than Jammu. The Kathua episode clearly seems a link in the chain. In fact, it could be the spark to light the fuse. Incidentally, the anti-Muslim riots in Jammu 1947 which changed the entire demography gave real birth to Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the pre-cursor of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh remained active from 1951 to 1977. The Jana Sangh’s major campaign began in 1953 centred on the total integration of Jammu and Kashmir in India. After the Emergency of 1977, the Jana Sangh merged with some other parties to form the Bharatiya Janata Party or the BJP.
Fortunately, the Kathua episode has failed to become a communal issue in spite of the fact that certain elements are trying their best to stir the cauldron. The visit of the Bar Council Delegation and their giving a clean chit to the supporters of the rapists indicates the ulterior motive. Their demand for the CBI investigation also shows the aim as most of the cases investigated by CBI have not resulted in any conviction in the State. The worst part has been the induction of the main instigator into the State Cabinet and the new Deputy Chief Minister’s remarks belittling the issue.
In spite of all these attempts at communalisation, the incident not only got universal condemnation but almost all right thinking people in the whole country regardless of the religion, condemned it including the media. It has now become a totally humanitarian issue with almost all sections demanding capital punishment for the criminals. Even though the instigators are not giving up, the communal cauldron which they want to be stirred for the next year’s election may not start from Kashmir. They may have to look for an alternative site to light the fuse!
The author is an I.A.S. (Retired) & Former Director General Tourism, Jammu & Kashmir and can be reached at [email protected]