Sunday, Dec 22, 2002
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By Shujaat Bukhari
The coffin of the slain MLA, Abdul Aziz Mir, being carried by his supporters at Koinbal, Pampore town in Kashmir on Saturday. Photo: Nissar Ahmad
The killings are indicative of the "bumpy road" ahead for the Congress-PDP coalition Government, which has adopted a "healing touch" approach. The renewed attacks send out a clear signal that for the militants all those who align with mainstream politics are targets. In the six-year long regime of Farooq Abdullah, it was the National Conference workers who were at the receiving end and now the ire is directed towards the PDP, though the NC men continue to be in danger. Analysts believe that in case the PDP continues to be the target in the coming days it will be difficult for the party to achieve the goal of becoming an alternative to the NC. Even after the loss of hundreds of workers, the NC's base is intact.
The death of the Mir is not only the loss of a crucial seat in the Assembly for the PDP but also a major setback to the process of peace and reconciliation. Though the PDP has never justified militant acts, its initial announcement, particularly after assuming power, did send the wrong signals. Observers feel that the killing of the Mir has "punctured" the political initiative launched by the Mufti Government. But the president, Muzaffar Hussain Beig, denounced such views saying "these apprehensions are not based on facts;we are fighting militants from the front''.
``We have never been and will never be soft towards those who hold the gun and the militants will be dealt with severely'' he told The Hindu. At the same time, he said no power on earth could force them to abandon the "healing touch" policy.
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