It appears that following the belated national outcry over the Kathua rape and murder case, a sense of stability has returned to Kashmir. The BJP after trying an overreach in support of the accused in ghastly rape and murder of an eight year old child has re-adjusted its politics over the crime following the outrage. The party has felt obliged to axe Chaudary Lal Singh and Chander Prakash Ganga, the two ministers who had rallied in support of the accused. And the PDP, after giving some signals that it was unhappy with the state of affairs and mulling an extreme step, has decided not to disturb the status quo. Or so it seems. In their respective legislative party meetings, the two parties have made a common cause with each other. The PDP spokesperson and the minister Naeem Akhtar has termed the resignation of two BJP ministers as a Confidence Building Measure. He has sought cooperation from the country similar to the one extended in case of Kathua rape and murder to resolve the larger factors underpinning the turmoil in the state.
Similarly, the BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav has tried to make the right noises, albeit laced with some implicit discomfort at the turn of events. He said there was no trouble in the BJP-PDP alliance and that the Prime Minister Narendra Modi had advised them to take appropriate action against Lal Singh and Ganga to send a right message to people. Madhav, however, said that the ministers were only guilty of indiscretion. He also assured the justice for the victim and punishment for the culprits.
The sudden turnaround in the approach to the rape and murder of the child and the consequent shift in the outlook of the BJP has restored a sense of normalcy in the state after months of teetering on the edge of the chaos. With the overdue realization in Jammu that the silence over the rightwing support for the accused in rape and murder was not only indefensible but also a sign of a depraved mentality, the looming threat of of a violent communal polarization between the two regions has receded. But this hardly means that everything is hunky-dory. With hopefully the simmering tension over the rape and murder behind them, the coalition partners could look forward to more cooperation over the troubled situation facing the state. Akhtar wants New Delhi to pay attention to restlessness of the youth, issues of the youth and political issues facing the state from a humanitarian angle. But such a change of heart in New Delhi is unlikely to happen in an election year. And even if this happens, it is unlikely to bear any fruit. A government worried about the election outcome will not be in a position to carry forward a politically fraught process to its logical conclusion and that too of as difficult a nature as Kashmir. But yes, the PDP can and should get the New Delhi to fulfil its commitments in the Agenda of Alliance at least those of apolitical nature.
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