India's ruling party pulls out of coalition in Kashmir

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti resigns as New Delhi plans to rule Muslim-majority state directly

India's ruling party pulls out of coalition in Kashmir

World Bulletin / News Desk

The government in Jammu and Kashmir fell on Tuesday after the ruling Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) pulled out of a coalition in the state.

“It has become untenable for the BJP to continue in the alliance government in the state," BJP’s party general secretary Ram Madhav said during a news conference in Delhi.

The decision came as a surprise to People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the Muslim-majority state, even though Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said she was not shocked.

“I am not shocked [by BJP's exit]. We didn't do this alliance for power. This alliance had a bigger motive: unilateral cease-fire, PM's visit to Pakistan, withdrawal of cases against 11,000 youth,” Mufti said during a news conference in state capital Srinagar.

On Monday, the BJP high command in New Delhi called their legislators in Jammu and Kashmir for an urgent meeting.

Madhav said they supported the imposition of Governor’s rule in the region, which would imply direct governance from New Delhi. 

“Keeping in mind that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and in order to control the prevailing situation in the state, we have decided that the reins of power in the state be handed over to the governor," Madhav added.

Soon afterward, Mufti resigned from the top elected position. 

The 2015 elections in the region resulted in a hung verdict with PDP winning 28 seats and BJP winning 25 seats in the 87-member assembly. The two emerged as the major parties and even though they had positioned themselves as prime opponents before the elections, they came together to form the government. 

PDP, a Kashmir based party, was criticized by their supporters for joining hands with the right wing Indian nationalist BJP.

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said that Mufti should have resigned earlier with dignity. 

“I had told Mehbooba Mufti to leave the coalition... I wish she had listened to me and left with dignity instead of having the rug pulled from under her feet," Abdullah said.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.

Also, in Siachen glacier in northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire came into effect in 2003.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence, or for unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

 
Last Mod: 20 Haziran 2018, 12:24
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