ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Kashmir Story

THE back-room boys of the ruling National Front, or more specifically the Janata Dal, can pat themselves on their backs for having got the better of the Congress(l) over the developments in Jammu and Kashmir. Soon after the National Front government had assumed office, it was being twitted by Congress(I) spokesmen, including former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, for having 'surrendered to the terrorists' in Kashmir by agreeing to release five imprisoned militants to secure the freedom of the kidnapped daughter of the just sworn-in union home minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. But, in a matter of some six weeks, the Congress(l) has been forced to shed its belligerence in regard to the government's handling of Kashmir; it is obliged instead to affirm its support to the government's efforts to thwart the alleged Pakistani meddling in Kashmir. It is fashionable in this country to talk' patronisingly of the political compulsions of governments and politicians in Pakistan to rake up the Kashmir issue from time to time. But, objectively speaking, the current heightening of Indo-Pak tensions over Kashmir has served the National Front government here very nicely too. Not only has one menacing thrust of the opposition Congress(l)'s offensive against it been very effectively blunted, but the propaganda about the danger to the country posed by Pakistan's supposed involvement in the turmoil in Kashmir is coming in handy to the government in other ways as well. For instance, the clinching argument that the government is using in its efforts to get the Vishwa Hindu Parishad to put off the politically inconvenient start of construction of the Ramjanmabhoomi temple till after the state assembly elections is that at a time when the country is facing an external threat to its integrity nothing should be done which would create disunity among the people. And undoubtedly the claim that the government headed by V P Singh is giving a fitting reply to the Pakistan-backed trouble-makers in Kashmir and the attendant evoking of national sentiment will stand the Janata Dal in good stead in the coming assembly elections.

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