By Elton Gomes
The National Security Guards (NSG), also known as “black cats,” will soon be deployed in counter-militancy operations in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The move to deploy the NSG comes just a day after governor’s rule was imposed in the state.
Officials have said that an NSG team has been stationed in the Valley for a long time now, and the team is currently undergoing rigorous training in the city’s outskirts. The Home Ministry decided to deploy the black cats, and they might be put to use after their acclimatisation programme concludes, as per a PTI report.
On Wednesday, Jammu and Kashmir was put under governor’s rule for the fourth time during the past ten years after the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) withdrew from its alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). After the BJP withdrew from Kashmir, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti announced her resignation.
BJP pulls out of Kashmir
In a move that left Kashmir and its politics in doldrums, the BJP Tuesday pulled out of its alliance with the PDP in Jammu and Kashmir. Immediately after the saffron party withdrew, Chief Minister Mufti decided to step down and handed over her resignation to Governor N.N. Vohra. At a press conference in New Delhi, the BJP’s general secretary Ram Madhav announced that the decision to withdraw was taken after deliberation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party chief Amit Shah.
Mufti was of the opinion that muscular policy would never work in the Valley and the PDP’s primary motive was reconciliation and dialogue. After submitting her resignation, Mufti said that she had told the governor that the PDP will not be entering into an alliance with any other party.
The BJP-PDP alliance came apart days after the Centre decided to not extend the Ramzan ceasefire for anti-terror operations. “We brought in unilateral ceasefire which brought a lot of relief to the people. We can’t have a muscular policy in Jammu and Kashmir… We weren’t a part of an alliance just for power,” Mufti said, as reported by NDTV.
Two leaders involved in formulating the BJP’s Kashmir strategy claimed that the party pulled out of Jammu and Kashmir in an attempt to protect its “core support base,” particularly in Jammu. The BJP may have also taken back its support to enhance the scale of “internal security operations” in the state and “across the border”, and to exercise direct control via governor’s rule.
In addition, there seemed to be a rift between Mufti’s and the BJP’s thoughts. The ceasefire during Ramzan was Mufti’s initiative and she wanted the gesture to be continued after Eid. Furthermore, Mufti favoured talks with Pakistan while the BJP wished for a muscular approach.
Discontinuation of the ceasefire during Ramzan seemed to be the tipping point for the BJP-PDP alliance. Insiders from the saffron party claim that “She (Mufti) had been pressing the central government to continue the ceasefire saying civilian killings during security forces operations don’t help in improvement of the situation in Kashmir and instead aggravate the situation,” according to the New Indian Express.
Sources in the PDP were confident that the ceasefire would lead to a dialogue between the Centre and the separatists. However, the sources claimed that the Ramzan ceasefire was nothing but “a half-hearted effort by (the) centre.”
Ceasefire during Ramzan
On June 17, the Centre revoked the Ramzan ceasefire and announced that intelligence-based cordon-and-search-operations and search-and-destroy-operations would continue in the Valley. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said in a series of tweets: “The operations against the terrorists to resume. The government commends the security forces for having shown exemplary restraint during Ramzan despite grave provocations. Government (is) committed to working for creating an environment free of terror and violence in Jammu & Kashmir.”
Army chief General Bipin Rawat stated that the ceasefire was revoked as terrorists in the Valley had continued with their operations. General Rawat added that the ceasefire was put in effect so that people can offer their prayers: “ … we saw a phase of suspension of operations because we wanted people to get a chance to offer their prayers during Ramzan without any kind of problem. Despite that, terrorists continued with their activity, which is why the suspension of operations was cancelled.”
Jammu and Kashmir under Governor’s rule
Union minister Mahesh Sharma is confident that the Valley’s state will improve under Governor’s rule. “We kept it (alliance) for three years, but now with the present political situation having changed, the time has come for such a rule (Governor’s rule). A rule where the might of the state can take on terrorists with the help of the people,” Sharma said, as per a PTI report. Sharma added that the impact from the change will be felt soon.
Governor N.N. Vohra called for an all-party meet on Friday to discuss the situation after governor’s rule was implemented. The Governor has also placed the legislative assembly in suspended animation until the governor’s rule is revoked.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius.