Is Muzaffar Baig now New Delhi’s pointsman in Kashmir ?

Former PDP leader and Deputy Chief Minister has been released from detention, was invited to New Delhi to meet members of the European Parliament and has been talking of reconciliation and a solution

Muzaffar Baig (NH Photo)
Muzaffar Baig (NH Photo)

Bula Devi

Muzaffar Baig, who has seen many ‘falls’ in Kashmir, politically and otherwise, says he is attempting to set the stage to strike a balance between New Delhi and Kashmir.

He is advocating that Kashmir should get hill provisions. He believes that it is the only way to resolve the issue.

The former Lok Sabha MP from Baramulla constituency appreciates that “unlike 2008 and 2010, there has been no killing this time”, adding that mass uprising in the valley will only lead to deaths and more deaths.

According to him, the uneasy calm on the streets is a “silent fear and not a raged fear”. Qualifying his opinion, Baig says that the palpable fear is that the Supreme Court might give a judgement against the wishes of Kashmiris.

Advocating peaceful persuasion to resolve the current stalemate between Kashmiris and New Delhi, Baig believes that history will “judge us by the kind of response we generate”. He is cautious that history will “judge us harsher if we fail to generate the right kind of response”.

The former Deputy Chief Minister has been propagating that constitutionally elected people should be released in batches. Former Chief Ministers Farooq Abdulah, Omar Abdullah (both belonging to National Conference) and Mehbooba Mufti of PDP) are under house arrest since August 5 this year.

While most of the political leaders, separatists and others are either in detention centres, under house arrest or behind bars, Baig, who was initially shifted from detention centre to his home and put under house arrest, has been released. Baig was also invited by New Delhi to meet handpicked members of the European Parliament in Delhi.

While conceding that the prevailing situation in the Valley is “unique”, Baig believes it is necessary to interact with the civil society and the common man.

“Kashmiris are genetically programmed to be scared and suspicious of authorities,” says Baig, who has had a running battle with party chief Mehbooba Mufti.

In fact, when he was told to resign from Congress-PDP coalition Government in 2006, Baig quit after much dithering. He reportedly said at a news conference “I was close to chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad but I never betrayed the party”.

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