Thursday, April 18, 2024
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When Mufti Sayeed came calling on Kashmiri Pandits

Dr Ramesh Raina

Most of the times human history does not follow a linear path and it seldom unfolds according to a predetermined script.But the before hand manipulation to change its coarse midway tantamount to misrepresent the human history. Its writing or rewriting does not make necessarily anybody feel guilty. But one can be guilty for remaining ignorant and not learning about his own history and then repeating the same mistakes in the future.That’s why history is so important.

The role of dramatis personae affecting the flow of events and incidents is complex therefore open to public judgement.To charge sheet and open them to public scrutiny becomes significant and I believe this is the greatest moral challenge of our times.

A single event should suffice to drive home the point that how a desire of meeting ‘a few Kashmiri Pandits’ in Delhi NCR, by Mufti Mohmmad Sayeed the then Chief Minister of J&K in early 2000 was bungled by the then leadership of the Kashmiri Samiti Delhi.Its narration becomes important because Kashmiri Samiti Delhi remained a dominant force of Kashmiri Pandits for a long time.For proper sequencing of the whole episode,therefore it is important to situate the whole thing in a proper perspective. Given the Mufti’s anti-KP image because of his alleged role in 1986 Anantnag riots,seen as a precursor to 1990 exodus of the KP Community,the meeting proposal as such generated a cautious optimism.An underlying idea behind it was to open the communication with the displaced community,long seen as neglected. Its execution involved series of pre-event meetings with who’s who of the community. The theme involved in such meetings was to invite him to a community meeting at Kashmir Bhavan and present him with a routine memorandum,not withstanding his urge to meet a’select group of few Kashmiri Pandits’.The bias of the Samiti leadership came to the fore after holding a prolonged spell of pre-meeting consultations to derive a pre-ordained outcome in its favour and use that as an initial outline of the meeting.In view of the misconceived and misperceived assessment,emergent situation thus was pregnant with probableties and too challenging for the smooth conduct of the proposed meeting.

However the stage was set for the D day,Kashmir Bhawan bore a festive look and as expected it witnessed a huge participation to watch the proceedings of the programme.upon seeing such a big gathering,the surprise was writ large on the face of the Chief Minister definitely not to his liking and contrary to his intention of meeting’a few people’.Consequent,to it most of the speakers used the platform for a mixture of insinuation,criticism and discriminatory attitudes of his Government towards the displaced people.With the opening of the programme and its subsequent flow on a questionable note,it encouraged a tasteless argument with the CM from the audience.Not a good augury indeed.Responding to the posers,he said" Mene insey kaha tha,mein chand logon kay saath milna chahta hoon,magar muje nahi pata tha yehan itna bada ijlas hoga”.With these words he concluded his speech but not without disappointment.The dismayed CM was seen asking for a cigarette puff from an acquaintance at the high tea kept in his honour.

In the specific context of the event i,though as an insider yet a distant observer had communicated to the leadership that the Chief Minister of the State means Government of the State.Mufti Mohd Sayeed therefore was the Government of the State,Samiti as such must stick to the exigencies of the time.The rigmarole of refusals led my protestations to be taken casually and the day carried as per the whims and fancies of the leadership.

Reopening some crucial pages of the event,it needs to be stated that several questions remain as its cascading effect and unmanageable consequences remind yet again that a meeting with small group of tall community leaders with the CM would definitely have had a desirable outcome.With the passage of time,the images of the event have certainly dimmed in the collective memory but its discernible impact resulted in the progressive decline of once a thriving KP
organisation.Subsequently,the organisation failed to sustain its dominance which was exacerbated by a dysfunctional work culture.Nurturing of a culture to allow the contemptuous disregard for basic civilised norms has shaken the moral foundations of the organisation and leaving it as a pale shadow of its past,shrunk in size and influence.

(Dr.Ramesh Raina a Doctor by profession is a well known socio-political activist and is a prolific writer on Kashmir affairs)

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