Kashmir: Mehbooba Mufti resigns after BJP withdraws support

Mehbooba Mufti resigns as CM after her alliance partner BJP withdrew support amid deteriorating security situation.

People carry the body of Syed Shujaat Bukhari, the editor of Rising Kashmir daily newspaper, who was killed by unidentified gunmen outside his office in Srinagar
Thousands attended the funeral of prominent journalist Syed Shujaat Bukhari last week in Srinagar [Danish Ismail/Reuters]

Srinagar, Indian-administered Kashmir – Mehbooba Mufti has resigned as the chief minister of Indian-administered Kashmir after her coalition partner, the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), pulled out of the ruling alliance.

After submitting her resignation on Tuesday, Mufti said “the muscular policy will not work in Kashmir”, referring to the hard line policies adopted by the central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“Jammu and Kashmir is not an enemy territory,” Mufti told reporters in Srinagar, the capital of the region.

The collapse of the government comes days after India’s Ministry of Home Affairs refused to extend unilateral ceasefire announced on the eve of Ramadan.

While announcing the decision in New Delhi, Ram Madhav, the National General Secretary of the BJP, told the reporters that “it had become untenable for the BJP to continue with the alliance in Jammu and Kashmir”.

Jammu and Kashmir is not an enemy territory. The muscular policy will not work in Kashmir

by Mehbooba Mufti, the PDP leader

He also cited rising instances of violence and radicalisation as one of the reasons to pull the plug on the state government.

“After a meeting with BJP [President] Amit Shah, we decided that we cannot continue with the PDP in the state.”

The Hindu nationalist BJP had formed an alliance with regional Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in 2014. The alliance, which was touted as coming together of “north pole and south pole”, was fraught with friction between the two partners on how to deal with the issues facing the region.

The rift in the alliance was out in the open in February after BJP ministers publicly supported alleged rapists of an eight-year-old Muslim girl in Kathua district. The two ministers were subsequently sacked.

‘Incompatible alliance’

The governor’s rule is likely to be implemented in the region, which means the disputed region will be directly ruled by the central government through its appointed person until the elections.

Noor Ahmad Baba, a political analyst based in Srinagar, said “it was an incompatible alliance from the beginning”.

“Both parties had lost trust in their own constituencies,” Baba said.

The senior leader of the opposition congress party, Ghulam Nabi Azad, told reporters that “the BJP has been a failure in the state and it can’t escape its responsibility”.

‘Can’t tie hands of forces’

The state BJP spokesperson, Sunil Sethi, told Al Jazeera that “the terrorism was increasing and it was becoming difficult for the government to handle the situation.”

“The terrorism was increasing. We wanted to deal with the situation strongly. We can’t tie the hands of security forces. Everyone was suffering due to this situation. We had to take a call for the interest of the nation,” he said.

Despite the Ramadan ceasefire announced by the BJP there was no end to violence. At least 30 people were killed during the ceasefire period.

The killing of prominent Kashmiri journalist, Shujat Bukhari, last week has sent shock waves in the disputed Himalayan region. The violence has seen an uptick in the region since the beginning of this year.

Source: Al Jazeera