Though the tensions have been steadily going up and down since the partition, the month of February brought a steep decline in the diplomatic relations between the two neighboring nuclear powers, India and Pakistan. One of the major reasons behind the tussle is the claim on the valley of Jammu and Kashmir and this territorial dispute has spawned several political and economic disruptions between the two countries.
India and Pakistan have had a history of bloodshed over this dispute as they have fought three battles one after the other but the matter, instead of being resolved, kept escalating into chaos. The militancy gives rise to harsh government policies and strict government regulations result into even more militancy and an average Kashmiri youth is bound to live his life stuck in this vicious cycle.
On February 14, the suicide bombing attack on CRPF personnel triggered a row of events that de-escalated the hopes of peace talks between the two nations by a huge margin. Pakistan based group Jaish-e-Mohammad claimed responsibility for the attack while Pakistan completely denied playing any role in this incident. Among fury in the Indian masses, government lead an airstrike on the alleged terror camps on the soil of Pakistan claiming to neutralize hundreds of terrorists. In this operation, Pakistan claimed to capture two IAF pilots but later corrected its mistake to only one. Indian government also accepted that IAF personnel Wing Commander Abhinandan had been captured by Pakistan forces.
Pakistan was accused of breaching Geneva Conventions of maintaining secrecy when Pakistan forces released a video of captured IAF Officer Wing Commander Abhinandan in conversation with a Major of Pakistan Forces. Pakistan Prime Minister, repeatedly requesting to not escalate matters towards a war, announced that the captured Indian IAF pilot will be released as a peace gesture.
Amidst all this war hysteria on both sides of the border, what was surprising beyond belief was the blatant politicization of the Pulwama Attack and the airstrikes by the leading names in the ruling party, BJP. Addressing a rally in Ghazipur, BJP President Amit Shah used the Indian Airstrikes to ask for votes in a shocking display of indifference towards the sacrifices of the martyrs. In a chaupal meeting in the eastern UP district, he asked the people:
â€œWho can ensure the security of the country? The people of the gathbandhan (SP-BSP-RLD alliance) or Modiji?â€ It is also surprising that the ruling party has asked the opposition repeatedly to not politicize the Pulwama incident.
â€œWho can give a mooh todh jawab (fitting reply to Pakistan?) Who can wipe out terrorism?â€ he asked while launching the BJPâ€™s Kamal Jyoti Sankalp campaign for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in Ghazipur.
Moreover, Karnataka BJP Chief BS Yeddyurappa came under fire for saying that airstrikes will help BJP gain a sweeping victory in Karnataka. He drew flak from the other leaders of his own party, like Union Minister VK Singh who tweeted thatâ€œWe stand as one nation, action taken by our government is to safeguard our nation & ensure safety of our citizens, not to win a few extra seatsâ€. Kerala CM HD Kumaraswamy also criticized these comments by saying that â€œThe entire nation is united in supporting the central govt & our armed forces to fight terrorism, while #Bjp leader @BSYBJP is busy calculating how many extra LS seats the terror attack & Pak war can bring to his party. It’s shameful to exploit our jawans’ sacrifice for electoral gainsâ€.
Apart from spokespersons and political associates of BJP politicizing the sacrifices of martyrs, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has refrained from making any comment yet on the issue. He chose to speak to his party workers and continue his political campaigning without addressing the key issues facing the nation. It begs the question whether he is putting his position as a party worker above his responsibilities of the Prime Minister.
On the other hand, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked the nation to practice restraint and he hoped that better sense prevails amidst this chaos.