Those trying to find a connection between the alleged rigging of 1987 elections and the militancy are just hiding their failures and trying to fulfil their vested political agenda, which revolves around one point – how to grab power.
People often talk about rigged elections of 1987 as the reason for start of militancy in J&K. People are at liberty to have their views but the fact is that whosoever claims rigging of 1987 elections as the reason for militancy is undoubtedly disgracing the sacrifices of Kashmiris. Without being biased one must accept that armed struggle was a result of the history of broken promises made with Kashmiris from New York to Shimla to Tashkand to Srinagar. Had just rigging been the reason then one should answer why didn’t Kashmiris picked up guns in pre 1977 era, when every election was in fact a selection and even nomination papers of opponents were being rejected and the wounds of New Delhi’s betrayal and failure of international community were also quite fresh. While the shameful Indra Abdullah accord in 1975 turned hope into disappointment, hanging of Mohammad Maqbool Bhat acted as key alienating factor to force youth to take up arms. Disintegration of USSR and the insurgency in Punjab prompted Kashmiris to believe that there is no peaceful resolution to J&K dispute.
Those trying to find a connection between the alleged rigging of 1987 elections and the militancy are just hiding their failures and trying to fulfil their vested political agenda, which revolves around one point – how to grab power. Let us assume 1987 elections were fair and Muslim United Front got a considerable number of seats, could it have changed anything except either MUF would have been enjoying power or playing the same role what a good healthy opposition is supposed to do.
No one can claim or prove that MUF had any road map or agenda to fight for right to self-determination for people of J&K. Those claiming that creation of MUF was an effort to carry Kashmir dispute to state assembly are misleading the present generation. No doubt MUF had a pro-Kashmiri and religious identity but the leadership never raised even the slogans of right to self-determination during its campaign or in the Assembly. Rigging undoubtedly took place in 1987 elections but to what extent the rigging influenced the results is debatable and the fact is that things are being blown out of proportion. People have a right to defer but let us be honest In confessing that despite seeing considerable support for MUF in the valley, a huge chunk of Kashmiris followed NC leadership.
Had MUF really an agenda to fight for resolution of Kashmir dispute in the Assembly, the records of Assembly don’t authenticate it. The four MLAs of MUF despite being seen as pro-Kashmiri Muslim faces didn’t even once move a resolution in the Assembly from 1987 to 1990 calling J&K a dispute territory or seeking right to self-determination. The four MLAs of MUF never resigned as a protest against alleged riggings or for the reason that New Delhi was non-serious in resolving dispute, but the armed movement left them with no options but to resign in 1990 and Farooq Abdullah followed them. Had Mohammad Yousuf Shah won 1987 elections the only thing that could have happened would have been that not Mohammad Yousuf Shah but someone else would have been today’s Syed Salah-ud-Din.
However, those who have been part of resistance movement need to clear all confusion about the relationship between armed struggle and 1987 elections. When enemies of Kashmiris try to find a connection between the two it doesn’t matter much but when those who were in pro-resistance camp till recent past and now have shifted their loyalties to the other side and are claiming 1987 rigged elections as the reason of militancy, the issue becomes serious. If the current Huriyat and the militant leadership had really chosen the path of armed struggle only after they felt that the elections were rigged, then it was a tragedy as no one had a right to push Kashmiris to armed struggle after feeling that he was defeated by wrong means.
Then the entire resistance movement becomes a battle of personal interests and the one like NC and PDP are fighting today.
Didn’t People join armed struggle even after most fair elections of 2002, 2008 and 2014. It is high time for political leaders that rather than hiding their failures they must concentrate on pursuing New Delhi and Islamabad for a peaceful resolution to J&K dispute and must not allow New Delhi a safe passage and an escape route by their silly claims and sermons.