The latest killing of Bharatiya Janata Party leader Rakesh Pandita , municipal councillor of Pulwama’s Tral by three terrorists in the Tral belt of South Kashmir’s Pulwama district has once again indicated the peace is still far away. And the Centre’s narrative of all is well is not seen on the ground .
According to reports, it is learnt that at the time of the incident, Pandita was without any PSO as he defied the standard operating procedure (SoP) and went to his native village in the south Kashmir district without his security.
This is not first time a BJP leader has been gunned down by militants, as many as five BJP leaders were killed last year in a spate of targeted killings. After this, there was a review of the security arrangement and most of them had been provided with secured accommodation in Srinagar, the summer capital of the union territory. Yet the terrorists had shown the audacity carry out killings.
It may be recalled that On August 5, 2019, a little over two months into a historic second term, the Modi government divided Jammu and Kashmir( the government put under house arrest former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti) into two Union territories and did away with its special status. Article 370, combined with Article 35A, accorded Jammu and Kashmir special status under the Constitution of India, allowing it to have a separate constitution and a separate penal code among other legal distinctions. The decision to end the special status for J&K marked fulfilment of BJP’s long-standing agenda and its 2014 poll manifesto promise.
But since removal of Article 370 , there has not been much headway . In the eight phase DDC polls in Jammu and Kashmir , which began on November 28,2020 which was incidentally the first election after Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 was revoked in 2019 August 5 the result went in favour of the local parties.
The Farooq Abdullah-led People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) swept 110 seats out of 280 in the maiden District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) emerged as the single-largest party with it winning 74 seats in all.
After the success of the DDC polls in 2020 many thought after the stage is now set for the assembly polls. In-fact Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Independence Day speech on 15th August 2020, from the ramparts of the red fort had stated : “Delimitation process is currently underway in Jammu and Kashmir. An election will take place as soon as the process is completed. Jammu and Kashmir will have its own Chief Minister, ministers and MLAs. We’re committed to this”.
Removing Article 370 was the long standing demand of the BJP manifesto, now the onus is on them to fulfill the promise in the words of PM Modi that is is to hold assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir at the earliest. And for that to happen Centre needs to engage with the local mainstream parties The National Conference, PDP and Others . Dubbing them as anti-national and dissenters will further make the situation volatile and peace will elude Jammu and kashmir.