The Congress party, with much fanfare released its election manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections on Tuesday, 2nd April 2019. Among several lacklustre promises like NYAY, which in itself is questionable and would end up crippling the economy, Rahul Gandhi’s vision with respect to Jammu and Kashmir is perhaps most unsettling considering they have decided to toe to separatist line to a large extent.
Following is a portion of the manifesto that talks about their Kashmir vision.
Among all the fluff of fancy words, the Congress party makes some dangerous promises in their manifesto as far as Kashmir is concerned.
Dialogue with all ‘stakeholders’ in Kashmir
In the manifesto, Congress says that it believes only dialogue is the way forward and that it promises to appoint 3 interlocutors to facilitate unconditional talks with all “stakeholders”. It has nowhere in their manifesto clarified that these proposed talks will not be held with separatists of Hurriyat who are currently under investigation or even separatists like Yasin Malik etc.
With Congress including that the talks are going to be without any “preconditions” is all the more worrying. It appears like Congress is willing to indulge in talks even with elements who indulge in fuelling terrorism in the valley.
Review deployment of forces in the valley
The Congress party has promised to review the deployment of forces in the valley. Essentially, the Congress has said that they don’t believe in “vascular approach” and they will reduce the deployment of armed forces in the valley and move them towards the borders.
It is no secret that Kashmir valley is distraught with terrorism and the Army’s aggression operation clean out helped curb terrorism in the valley. With this step, the Congress party ensures that the progress made as far as weeding out terrorists, Burhan Wani and Ahmed Dar for example, is curbed and the terrorists get enough time to regroup and attack with renewed energy.
Amend Armed Forces Special Powers Act
The Congress has also promised to amend the Armed Forces Special Powers Act that is application in disturbed areas like Kashmir. It says that it will change the law to ensure that security and human rights are balanced. By this point itself the Congress has conveniently cast aspersions on the army insinuating that they army indulges in human rights violation. Reducing the power and reach of AFSPA can also be an unmitigated disaster for the valley as in dealing with extraordinary circumstances such as in the valley, the Army needs extraordinary powers. Congress Kashmir centric manifesto seems to be one that would only re-energize and re-fuel insurgency and terrorism in the Valley.
Congress blamed the Indian armed forces of sexual violence
If the promise about amending AFSPA left a little to the imagination when Congress was talking about Kashmir, in the later portion of the manifesto, Congress toes an all out separatist line of accusing the Indian Army of heinous crimes like sexual violence in the Valley owing to AFSPA.
The Congress manifesto says that the AFSPA would be amended to strike a balance between security and human rights. It then goes on to say that it would “remove immunity for enforced disappearances, sexual violence and torture”.
The Congress thus implies that the Indian Army indulges in torture of the innocent, enforced disappearances of the innocent and rape of women in the Kashmir valley.
Incidentally, this is the exact propaganda that is spread by Pakistan to ensure disenchantment in the Kashmiri population towards India and is also the same line toed by Kashmiri terrorists and separatists to justify terrorism.
Reiterates the lie about Kashmiris being ill-treated in the rest of India
After the Pulwama attack, the left-liberal cabal had tried its best to shift the narrative and peddle a lie that Kashmiris were being attacked by the rest of India. Several such lies were debunked by not only the police but also citizens. This narrative was peddled almost to give covering fire to the terrorist who had carried out the suicide attack killing 40 CRPF soldiers. In his video, Ahmed Dar had vowed to kill “cow-piss drinkers”, which basically means he wanted to annihilate Hindus. This narrative of ensuring that the murder of 40 CRPF soldiers were over-shadowed by the “Kashmiris are the victims” is furthered by Congress as a mention in their manifesto.
No mention of Kashmiri Pandits
The entire manifesto makes no mention of Congress working towards ensuring that the Kashmiri Hindus can return to the valley. In 1990, Islamists had raped, murdered and chased Hindus away from the valley. That the Congress has chosen to demonise the Army but not talk about righting a historic wrong where Muslim extremists of the Valley carried out a genocide against the Hindus, is an indication in itself of Congress’ intentions with Kashmir.