Or are you worried what will Arnab Goswami say?
Mr Home Minister, will you be visiting Farooq Ahmad Dar's house?
- kanwar manjit singh
Mr Home Minister, will you be visiting Farooq Ahmad Dar's house?



Five months after the ruling BJP defended, and some of its ministers and footsoldiers celebrated an Army officer who tied a man to a jeep as a human shield against stone pelters, India's Home Minister Rajnath Singh has now said  the controversy over Article 35-A was a "non-issue" and the Centre "will not do anything against the sentiments of the people."

Clearly, Rajnath Singh was following up on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's I-Day speech in which he said Kashmir issue cannot be resolved through "gaali” or "goli” -- "Baat banegi gale lagaane se" -- but with his latest olive branch move, the Centre has landed itself in a position where it will have to state things more clearly.
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It is nice that the Centre now wants to talk to "all stakeholders”. It can start by talking to Farooq Ahmad Dar, the man who was tied to the jeep and paraded across a number of villages for hours.
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Will the Centre now file a counter affidavit in the Supreme Court to defend Article 35-A? And will it state more clearly that it is ready to talk to those it terms as pariah?

It will have to dump the Arnab Goswamis and Sambit Patras of the world if it wants anyone to believe Rajnath Singh when he claimed that he had visited the Valley with an "open heart” and the government was always ready to talk to anyone.

Rajnath Singh said it was not his government that went to court on Article 35-A. But he will have to do more -- he will have to go to court to file that counter affidavit.

"Whatever we do, whatever our government does, we will not do anything against the sentiments of the people here. We will respect them,” he said.

Pat came the response from Omar Abdullah: "This is a very important statement from the Union Home Minister. His assurance will go a long way towards silencing the noises against 35-A. The Union government must now file a counter affidavit in the Supreme Court to defend 35-A. That is the way to carry this assurance forward.”

Notwithstanding the mumbo-jumbo of Rajnath Singh's five Cs — compassion, communication, co-existence, confidence-building and consistency — the question is simpler.

Will his boss Modi and the BJP government at the Centre own up this new narrative? Or is this "embracing Kashmiris" and not doing "anything against the sentiments of the people" merely periodic and spasmodic spewing of political correctness while a different agenda is pursued on the ground?

An engagement with Kashmir Valley goes beyond stepping back from Art 35-A. It envisages castigating and stemming the Islamophobia in India which is being fanned by several saffron outfits and leaders, some in the government.

India's minorities can take Rajnath Singh seriously only if Prime Minister Modi is able to convince the myriad armies of Hindu Shiv Sena, Bajrang Dal, Bhonsala Military School, Hindu Aikya Vedi, Sanatan Sanstha, Hindu Yuva Vahini, Sri Ram Sene, Abhinav Bharat and scores of such intellectual think-tanks to pick up the narrative of embracing Kashmiris, stopping lynchings, ending a culture of spewing venom at Muslims in general.
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An engagement with Kashmir Valley goes beyond stepping back from Art 35-A. It envisages castigating and stemming the Islamophobia in India which is being fanned by several saffron outfits and leaders, some in the government.
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Instead of honouring the army major who trussed up a man on the bonnet of a jeep, Army chief General Bipin Rawat needs to stop speaking out of turn about the need for Indian citizens to be afraid of the army. "People have to be afraid of us” if the army has to "maintain law and order,” he had said.

It is nice that the Centre now wants to talk to "all stakeholders” and it can start by talking to Farooq Ahmad Dar, the man who had gone out to vote even when hardly anyone in the Valley was doing so, and who was tied to the jeep and paraded across a number of villages for hours.

Prime Minister Modi can start by embracing him, and Rajnath Singh can bring along Major Leetul Gogoi to Farooq Ahmad Dar's house to say sorry.
 
India's Home Minister has said he would be willing to visit Kashmir 50 times in a year. Till the BJP, its ancillary organisations, the RSS and the saffron front as a whole do not own up the narrative of embracing Kashmiris, ending anti-minority hate campaigns and terming political opponents as anti-nationals, Rajnath may well have to visit troublespots 50 times a year, or more.

May be he can start by disowning a frontman on national television who jumps up and down everynight to save the Republic. Now, imagine the debate when the nation will demand to know why Rajnath Singh ever thought of visiting the house of Farooq Ahmad Dar!

You can blame Punjab Today that night for even making that suggestion, but it will be one hell of a debate to watch. 
 

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Disclaimer : PunjabToday.in and other platforms of the Punjab Today group strive to include views and opinions from across the entire spectrum, but by no means do we agree with everything we publish. Our efforts and editorial choices consistently underscore our authors' right to the freedom of speech. However, it should be clear to all readers that individual authors are responsible for the information, ideas or opinions in their articles, and very often, these do not reflect the views of PunjabToday.in or other platforms of the group. Punjab Today does not assume any responsibility or liability for the views of authors whose work appears here.

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