May 2004 News

Gujarat In Mind Kashmiris Get Euphoric Over BJP's Defeat

16 May 2004
News Network International

Srinagar: The mood in valley during elections 2004 was dominantly that of boycott and most of the people stayed away from the electoral process. But, both those who boycotted and participated in the polls are one in response to the change of guard at the centre. They are simply euphoric. The ouster of the National Democratic Alliance led by the hardline BJP brought cheer on the faces of many people here. Refusing to buy the belated moderate face of the alliance, people here see them through the mirror of Gujarat. 'We have no love for the Congress but because of our hate for the BJP we have enjoyed the success of Congress and other parties', said Sameena Yaqoob, a student of Women's College here at Moulana Azad road, Kashmir Times reported. It is primarily Gujarat that weighs more in their minds. 'The images of the massacres by Modi (Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi) led government are afresh in our minds. Did the outgoing prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee take any action against those responsible including Modi', asked Sameena's friend, Naila. Many people recount the wounds inflicted by the Congress in the past as well. 'Is it that there were no communal rights during Congress government? It was Narsimha Rao who was the prime minister when Babri masjid was demolished', said Faroque Yasin, a student. Besides, people regret the economic prosperity of Muslims in India is still a distant dream. 'They are going from bad to worse and have always been used vote banks. In discrimination, both Congress and BJP made no distinction', said Ghulam Hassan, a resident of Khirram in Anantnag. The wounds of BJP led NDA are the recent ones. 'It was not only the government in Gujarat alone that openly supported the killers but even judiciary absolved them of all the charges later', he said. The policy of Congress led government to be pursued in Kashmir is also debated here. People ask whether Congress would pursue dialogue with Pakistan and pro-freedom parties here. 'We do not expect any breakthrough. When it comes to Kashmir, all the parties at centre adopt a rigid line and are not willing to change their stance', said Mubashir Ali, a post graduate student in the University. The commoners are equally not optimistic. 'There is no immediate hope that Kashmir issue would be resolved and it would continue to linger on. The opening of Rawalindi road or such issues are raised only during elections and when they are over nobody talks about that', regretted Mohammad Aslam, a vegetable vendor here. Other people also refer to the promises made by the outgoing PM on his visit to Kashmir. 'He promised us sky on the employment front but hardly anything came. God knows what happened to those jobs and who knows whether Congress will do anything or not', said Mubashir.


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