By our Special Correspondent
Srinagar: Contrary to the ordinary Kashmiris’ expectations that the ban on Jamaat-e-Islami,
Jammu & Kashmir or JEI was temporary and would go with the ‘President’s Rule’ after
assembly elections, the religio political and social organisation with a very wide base across
the state is unlikely to be allowed to carry on its activities, if the highly placed sources in New
Delhi are to be believed .
Even if a party like PDP, which was recently seen actively demanding revocation of the ban
on JEI, wins the majority of seats in the assembly and forms the government, it may not be
allowed to lift the ban by the MHA. Informed sources say that a section of officers in the
state’s security grid, who have had succeeded in lobbying for a total ban on the party, have
lately tried to convince the MHA that step has helped to curb the unrest in restive South
Kashmir.
However, another section of bureaucracy and police feel that the present lull in South
Kashmir is not because of the crackdown on JEI but because of the change in the season.
Explaining this a former cop and security expert, talking to Kashmir Canvas said,” during
extreme weather conditions, militants invariably huddle together and prefer congested
locations so that in case of a face off with security forces, they get support from the people,
who would try to throw a ring around them and help them to escape”. Adding that with the
change in season they prefer hills, forests and deserted places to hide. He further said,
“come summer and you notice increase in militant activity as they get wider space to move
about and carry out their activities”.
Political circles including mainstreamers including Congress and NC too feel ‘aghast’ at the
ban on Jamaat, terming it as “unnecessary and unproductive”. They say that Kashmiris
sensitivities and sensibilities have been bruised rather wounded beyond repairs by the anti
Muslim activities of the activists of different groups of Sangh Parivar during last five years of
BJP led NDA rule at the centre. They cite the spurt in the hate crimes against Kashmiri
Muslims across India in the run up to the general elections as a reason for deepening
alienation. BJP and it’s cohorts have been on the lookout for some cause or a whipping boy
to lash at and try to mislead country’s masses about its ‘capacity and political will’ to do
things and suppress unrest in Kashmir with an “iron hand”. They feel that crackdown on JEI
is part of the ‘BJP’s game plan to hoodwink the electorate and make it believe that the
country is in safe hands as long as the party is in power’. They even refer to the Sangh
Parivar’s overt and covert attempts at tinkering with Article 370 and 35-A as a tool to pamper
the voter in Hindi heartland by misleading them to believe that these articles were unique to
J&K and such laws did not exist elsewhere in the country.
Observers here point out to the timing of the ban as it came only days before the ECI
announced the dates for general elections. They say that the banned party is credited with
having fought elections in the past and would have continued participating in the process
had there been no rigging in elections! The ban has come as a shocker for Jamat cadres as
it came after a long time of JEI having distanced from firebrand octogenarian Hurriyat leader
SAS Gillani who himself belonged to the JEI.
However, observers feel that regardless of the voices raised by the mainstream parties
against the ban and in support of JEI it will be very difficult for these parties to keep the poll
promise on the ban even after getting absolute majority in the assembly until there is a
change in guard at the centre.