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In Farooq Abdullah’s silence, lies his acceptance of new realities of Kashmir’s politics

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Going by the low key celebrations in Kashmir after Farooq Abdullah’s release from 8-month detention, the old war horse of J&K would have learned a thing or two about the changed ground realities.

The Abdullah and the Mufti clans should learn to read the writing on the wall. Although, their parties, National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), have limited options now, in it lies a great opportunity to revive their fortunes if they are able to integrate their views with the national mainstream.

Farooq Abdullah understands the change, and has refused to comment on the political situation until all other detainees are released. He has also expressed his wish to attend the Parliament of which he is a member.

J&K has accepted new realities

After the dilution of Article 370, much to the disappointment of the Abdullah family, the people of the Union territory decided to accept the changes, rather than prepare for a long-drawn battle. The change in the status was explained by the Narendra Modi government as a necessity to maintain law and order, and keep a close watch on the emerging situation so that external forces do not take advantage of it.

Politics in J&K cannot be and is no longer the exclusive preserve of the Abdullah clan. From the time Sheikh Abdullah became member of the Constituent Assembly in 1946 to when his grandson became the chief minister, the family has ruled over J&K for nearly four decades. It was the opinion of this family and that of the Muftis that guided the fortunes of the erstwhile state since Independence.

Despite the members of these two families getting plum posts in the state and the Union governments, their views on converting the temporary provision of Article 370 to a permanent feature or distancing themselves from the centre, especially when they are not in power are common knowledge. This is one reason why the family’s incarceration evoked very little or no protest.

According to the Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy, no major terror incident has taken place since the dilution of Article 370 and J&K has reported only 79 incidents, comparatively very low.

The print

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