Saif-ud-Din Bhat a onetime separatist is a three time poll contestant of the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party from Budgam district’s Khansahab assembly constituency.

He joined Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) during the life time of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed when PDP-Congress coalition government was in place. He narrates the experiences of his engagement with the separatist politics and sites reason for switching over to mainstream politics. Claiming to have got the inspiration to join mainstream politics from PDP founder and former Chief Minister late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed , Bhat exudes confidence that Kashmir issue can be resolved only within the Indian constitution and free trave and trade movements can bring India Pakistan close to create a free economic zone in the Indian subcontinent. He talked exclusively to “The Kashmir Magazine”.

Below are the excerpts from his interview  


Q: PDP has almost surrendered its political agenda but BJP is grabbing all opportunities to erode article 370. BJP has laid many legal traps on article 370, state flag and article 35 A governing property rights act but PDP is not responding to keep its commitment on protection of article 370.


A: Undeniable fact is that article 370 can’t be scrapped by even Indian parliament without the endorsement of the state assembly. BJP knows it that it has to remain silent on article 370 for upholding the country’s sovereignty. Even if anyone from Kashmir is offered Prime Ministership or presidentship of the country with the condition to facilitate abrogation of article 370, he or she can’t do it under any circumstances. Constitutional strength of the article 370 is such that it has become irreversible and irrevocable for any government at the centre or in the Jammu & Kashmir state. However we should expose people responsible for amending several important clauses of Jammu & Kashmir constitution to extend highly objectionable central laws during last 70 years in the state. We should expose all from Bakshi Gh Mohammad to Mehbooba Mufti responsible for eroding article 370 and even if PDP is responsible for any kind of the erosion of article 370 the people are at liberty  to exposed even this party.


Q: What was Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s intent of forming a government with BJP?


A: For Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Kashmir but not the country was the top priority but his ill timed death was a big jolt to PDP, the people of Kashmir and the country. Mufti Sahab is the man who prompted me to quit Hurriyat Conference and join his party PDP.

I was an active worker in Hurriyat Conference and was jailed several times along with senior Hurriyat leader Shabir Ahmad Shah from 1975 till the time I joined PDP. I was one among those few politicians of the state who revolted against 1975 Indira-Abdullah accord to bring a political revolution in the state but I was finally convinced that freedom for Kashmir is impossible keeping in view the military might of India and Mufti Sahab narrated to me all about his road map on Kashmir which was focused on cross border travel and trade between the two parts of Kashmir to create a free economic zone in the region. Mufti Sahab’s this road map was the only way to bring India and Pakistan closer and resolve the long pending Kashmir issue to bring lasting peace with dignity to Jammu & Kashmir state. I would like to advice Hurriyat Conference and other separatist leaders to change their ideology to bring people of Jammu & Kashmir out of the present messy situation as fact is that resolution of Kashmir issue lies within the Indian constitution only. People in mainstream are running for power but don’t have the courage to tell people the truth.


Q: The alliance with BJP seems to have alienated the PDP in Kashmir. What are your views on party’s alliance with BJP?


A: For resolving Kashmir issue and stabilising peace in the state PDP won’t bother even to ally with RSS not to talk of BJP. When we did not budge even an inch from our political ideology how can anyone say that PDP is at a disadvantage. Above all BJP had got almost absolute majority in Jammu region and PDP had got an almost similar majority in Kashmir and so to maintain regional balance in the state there was no other option for the PDP except to ally with the BJP. In Kashmir no political party musters the courage to tell people the truth. PDP is not getting an opportunity to work on the agenda of the resolution of Kashmir issue and it is for the people of Kashmir to give PDP a chance to work for the resolution of  issues concerning future of Jammu & Kashmir state.


Q; What about the alienation of youth in Kashmir?


A: No doubt the young generation is anti-Indian by conviction but let me tell you that I too in my prime youth was opposed to India by conviction. However after witnessing several phases of resistance struggle I had to change my perception and I have no doubt that the present young generation would also be convinced to change the political discourse in Kashmir after going through some turbulent phases. The present day youth has to try to regain what has been lost during last three decades. Once Narshima Rao said sky is the limit but National Conference President Farooq Abdullah without setting conditions for the then central government choose to contest elections and took over the reigns of power in the state. The National Conference had a brute majority in the assembly but could not establish the writ of the assembly by getting the autonomy resolution ratified by the central government. This was the golden opportunity the people of Jammu & Kashmir lost due to Farooq’s Abdullah’s weaknesses for power.


Q: What about your role as MLC in your home constituency?


A: After my election as MLC I have used constituency development fund (CDF) judiciously as I have allotted funds for 110 power transformers without any discrimination to any area in the constituency. I put in my tireless efforts for establishing Tosa Maidan Development Authority and I am indebted to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for acceding to my demand on Tosa Maidan Development Authority.Saif-uddin Bhat

Post a Comment Using Facebook Login

Comments are closed.