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A dangerous trend

editorial 6

BJP ministers’ reported refusal to accept Muslim officers as administrative secretaries in their ministries is an insult to the majority community of the state and should not be taken lightly. Chief Minister Mahbooba Mufti and her party PDP are allowing this public insult at their own peril. Before this became a public issue, the chief minister should have put her foot down and made the BJP ministers accountable for their communal rather criminal conduct even if it demanded walking out of the government but the PDP appears to have eaten the humble pie without feeling any insult or shame. It is for this fact that Muslim officers, who believe in self-respect, have threatened to resign. Chief Minister’s so-called direction to the ministers to attend to the grievances of these officers is a meek reaction to very serious development. BJP has successfully communalized rather criminalized the entire Indian society by its anti Muslim agenda, which has made the lives of Muslims in India quite difficult. Communalizing state administration is in continuation of the BJP’s Muslim-free agenda. Jammu and Kashmir is the only Muslim majority state in India. BJP openly works on an agenda of changing this population character of Jammu and Kashmir. PDP is working as facilitator in BJP’s plans. It is unfathomable why PDP is playing as second fiddle to the BJP, though at its own cost. Ever since it joined hands with BJP to form government in the state, PDP has been shamed and embarrassed by its partner on dozens of occasions. Only recently, when Mahbooba Mufti asked for dialogue between India and Pakistan, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav snubbed her as she was nobody to decide about talks. Let chief minister recall a single occasion when she was not humiliated by the BJP on issues of political and public matter ever since she became the chief minister. The latest administrative issue is virtually a brute slap on the PDP leadership’s face that should knock their conscience. It has never happened earlier that an officer would be accepted or rejected by a minister on the bases of religion. Most of the senior level officers (IAS) in Jammu and Kashmir are non-Muslims and non-state subjects. They have been occupying high positions (from divisional commissioners to chief secretaries) in the state. One will not find even a single instance when a Muslim minister refused to accept or reject an officer for his or her religious faith. “Efficiency” has always been and should always be the merit for administrative posts. But BJP ministers’ refusal to accept Muslim officers at administrative posts signals a big conspiracy. Unless the BJP ministers are working on some anti-Kashmir or anti-Muslim agenda, they should have no problem with Muslim officers. The state of Jammu and Kashmir is under attack from communal BJP on various fronts. Its constitutional privileges have been challenged in the court of law. Issuing permanent state subject status to non-state subjects like West Pakistan refugees, setting up separate residential colonies for soldiers and run-away Kashmiri Pandits are some of the fronts the BJP and its satellite groups have opened up against Jammu and Kashmir. Now Muslim officers are targeted. Chief Minister Mahbooba Mufti should rise above power politics and stonewall this onslaught. Mahbooba Mufti does not need to be told that she is chief minister not because of some favor by the BJP but by the choice of the people of the state. BJP’s ministers and leaders’ activities in and outside the government are very disturbing, which cannot be ignored. Only a few days back, BJP cadres and their allied Hindu extremists brazenly took to street protests in favor a Hindu criminal who allegedly raped a Muslim girl. Mahbooba Mufti should open her eyes and ears and should see and listen to what is going on in her government.