I wish to begin this article with a request to the reader. Please read the below excerpt carefully and guess who would have made this statement?
"Be part of the Indian story. The rest will follow naturally. .... Can you expect a soldier, crowded by a dozen stone pelters and feeling helpless, just about to be lynched, not to open fire to save his life? You pelt stones, make security personnel targets, burn government property and expect us to remain silent and do nothing?"
I’d like to bet a biryani that your first thought is that this was made by a BJP or an RSS or an ABVP leader! On the contrary, this statement was made by the Home Minister of India in 2010. The name of the person holding that post at that time was P. Chidambaram. There was a huge “Anti-India movement” in Kashmir in 2010. Over 2 months, the text in the headlines in the newspapers were constant, only the numbers changed. “ ___ number of people killed in violence in Kashmir”.
Nitin Gadkari was President of the BJP in 2010. The BJP arranged for a trip of Kashmir students to Delhi and organized meetings with a plethora of political leaders. P. Chidambaram made the above statement in a meeting with them. Nitin Gadkari also met them, and had the following to say:
“We want you to make progress as proud Indian citizens... The integration of Kashmir with India is final and non-negotiable, from this point of a devotional faith to our nation, all other issues can be discussed. Education, economic development, better governance and a happier social milieu are what we wish for Kashmir and all our states.”
Fast forward to 2017. P. Chidambaram is now in opposition. His primary responsibility now is to write a weekly article criticizing the government (sometimes, we are not sure if he is criticizing UPA or NDA). A compilation of all his articles was published as a book and he is on a tour to promote it. As part of this, he was in Hyderabad and made the following statement:
“told the reporters he had a sinking feeling that Kashmir was nearly lost for India because the central government used brute force to quell dissent there (in 2016). (He) also claimed that seven million people of Kashmir valley felt alienated by the ”oppressive methods” of the Indian government, which was a “terrible” mistake. He also said that the statement by Chief of Army Staff Bipin Rawat that anyone who interfered with defence operations in Kashimr would be treated as anti-national was the last straw.”
He is obviously referring to the violence by stone pelters in 2016, when NDA is in power. Suddenly he now feels NDA is using “oppressive methods” and making “terrible” mistakes, for doing the same thing he preferred to do in 2010. He even went to the extent of irresponsibly twisting the statement of the Army Chief, all for the sake of looking good in front of the cameras. “Kashmir nearly lost” might make a good headline, but it also exposes the depths to which the Congress party will plunge to grab that headline.
Please do contrast the response of the BJP as opposition in 2010, and the response of the Congress party as opposition in 2017. One would think that P Chidambaram and his party would have a nuanced view considering how they themselves faced similar crises, and responded similarly. However, day after day, they seem to be very keen to expose their chicanery. The need for a Congress Mukt Bharat is being felt more today, than even in 2014.