Jammu: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National President Amit Shah’s high-profile rally in Jammu on Saturday to observe the death anniversary of Syama Prasad Mookerjee — founder of the BJP’s predecessor party Bharatiya Jana Sangh — might indicate an end to the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, which Mookerjee died demanding. If it comes to that, it could lead to great turbulence in the Kashmir Valley.
Shah’s assertion that one of the chief bases of the BJP’s coalition pact with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was that the state would be an ‘a-bhin’ (undifferentiated) part of India could be read by Kashmiris as a signal that the Centre is heading towards removing the constitutional provisions that guarantee the state its special status.
The BJP chief made several hard-hitting, and potentially controversial, statements in the course of his speech, one of which was that Mookerjee was murdered in jail in Jammu and Kashmir. This will also sound tendentious in the Kashmir Valley, as cadres of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have long maintained that Mookerjee was poisoned.
Shah’s claim that Jammu and Kashmir joined India because of the efforts of the Praja Parishad, too, was controversial. It directly negated the role of Sheikh Abdullah, founder of the National Conference and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister.