On 23 October, PDP leader and former allies of the Congress and BJP Mehbooba Mufti challenged the unity and integrity of the nation once again as she usually does. Pointing at the Jammu and Kashmir flag invalidated by the abrogation of Article 370, she said, “We will raise the tricolour when the flag of Jammu and Kashmir is allowed to be raised too.” Is this acceptable to India, its government and its people?
The questions the panellists explored answers to:
- Why do institutions in the country like the Election Commission not derecognise separatist parties like the PDP and National Conference?
- Why have national parties like the INC and BJP allied with the PDP and NC in the past?
- Why do Indian leaders, law enforcement agencies, intellectuals, etc sound defensive and apologetic when the likes of Prashant Bhushan and Arundhati Roy raise the demand for a plebiscite in Kashmir?
- Why does not Prime Minister Narendra Modi ever say that his government got Article 370 (virtually) abrogated to rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandits?
- Why, unlike K Sudershan, who was the sarsanghchalak at the time of Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s rule, the current occupant of the highest seat in the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Mohan Bhagwat, does not give the BJP and its government a moral direction?
- Why are Pandits not returning to the valley?
- Is the Pandit community too docile for the Indian state to care?
- What is so special about Kashmir that it is the only former princely state where some people cannot integrate with the Indian union?
- Is ‘Kashmiriyat’ not a euphemism for jihad?
- How can or should India tackle separatists? Should they be jailed or should every separatist like Mehbooba Mufti be declared persona non grata?
Debating the issue are Hindutva supporters Akkhilesh Gautam and Joyshree Munshi, engineer Ashish Kumar Singh, SabLoktantra’s video presenter Rachit Kaushik, Ramesh Venkatraman and Sirf News’ Editor-in-Chief Surajit Dasgupta.