JK News Today ( Commentary )

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti is not a naïve . She knows she is up against a not- so reliable ally in BJP and a very hostile and scheming opposition . She also is aware that the things within his own party , PDP , are far from being satisfactory and completely under her control, even her party ministers are a scattered lot with no 100 per cent loyalty ticket in her. These are highly difficult and testing times for the first woman Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.

On Wednesday morning when she spoke at the Commando Training Centre, Lethpora, Pulwama- the same district to which the militant commander Burhan Wani belonged to , her objectives were straight and solid. There were no emotions . She was talking as a leader who meant business without giving a damn to it, what others think.

Mehbooba certainly had Burhan in her mind , though she did not mention him by name as she sought a clear distinction between the armed militants having raised a banner of revolt against the state and their parents and siblings. Her question , “ why should their ( militants) families be harassed or punished , simply they happen to be a family of the militants. This is unfair.”

It was her attempt to silence her critics within the BJP and other quarters who had sought to paint her as “ militants’ sympathizer” – a tag that has been with her ever since she entered politics two decades ago .
And, this time , the Chief Minister knows that she must refurbish this tag to stay out of the political cauldron where her political rivals want to throw her . Who could serve a better purpose than siding with the family of Burhan, whose brother has been cleared by the Pulwama district administration for compensation , reserved for innocents killed in cross-fire or other accidental explosions and so on.

Her rivals used Burhan’s killing in July under her watch to pin her down , destabilize her government and see her back off the Chief Minister’s chair and disgruntled elements within her party sensed a chance to topple her . She is paying them in the same kind. She has practically taken the ownership of the family of the militant commander , who has emerged as an icon of new insurgency in the psyche of Kashmiris . His appeal on social media even after his death has been realised by the government , so the route lies through reaching out to the family with a cheque of Rs. 4 lakh or job for a member of the family of Khalid Muzzaffar Wani as a compensation . Khalid was killed in an army operation when he had gone with “ wazwan” Kashmiri mutton delicacies to his hideout in Tral forests in April last year . He was deemed as “ over ground worker of Hizb-ul-Mujahadeen outfit, the police had promised to investigate .
This is where Mehbooba has gone ahead with his masterstroke and cleverly returned to the original theme of woo militants to join mainstream and befriend their families.

Mehbooba’s admission the security forces committed excesses is a political move to distance herself from her earlier statements, where in she had questioned, “ were young boys going to army camps to buy toffees or milk “ who were fired at by security forces for attacking their camps . She has shifted the gears. The voices against militancy and terrorism have been replaced by her renewed compassion for them. It is her message to National Conference, that the opposition is making noises but she is doing something in reality for them. This message also is meant for her party men telling them that she still has the capacity to take a U-turn and go back to masses, whereas the BJP should read the writing on the wall that Mehbooba is telling them it is my way highway .

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