Wedged in bitter border disputes, Jammu and Kashmir has often been a witness to Kashmiri Intifada (Kashmiri insurgency), political turbulence and an ascend of Pakistan-backed terror in the valley.
Delving into the current socio-political scenario of Jammu and Kashmir, separatist-turned- mainstream politician and People's Conference (PC) chief Sajad Lone in an exclusive interview to Republic TV's Zeenat encompasses the dynastic politics of Omar Abdullah's NC and Mehbooba Mufti's PDP in the valley, his party's association with BJP, separatism and the death of a minor in the hands of terrorists.
Despite the absence of a pre-poll alliance, Sajad Lone's party People's Conference has often been tagged along with BJP, speaking over it he said that both PDP and NC have had a coalition with BJP, and called to 're-invent the legitimacy of Legislative Assembly'.
He said, "We are fresh, we haven't put in many years in mainstream politics so there is nothing that sticks on us. We don't have decades of baggage. So our adversaries, we have all our sympathies with them when they could not find anything the best thing that they could find is, if you vote for Sajad he is close to the BJP. Having said that, to be very clear that both Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba ji have had an alliance with the BJP in the past, in fact Mehbooba ji in the recent past."
"They are the dynasty children, so God has forgiven them, but they can carry it and tag it along. But people I believe are much wiser than we think they do understand these two dynasties. From any natural disaster to man-made disaster my adversaries believed that I have a role in that. How on Earth would I have a role in deferring elections but I have always maintained that we need to re-invent the legitimacy of the Legislative Assembly. You cannot have minority 2000-3000 vote MLAs dominating the Assembly that erodes its Aseembly," he added.
He said, "The problem is that they should check facts, we have been recognised in 1983 but since we boycotted the elections for a long time we were de-recognised and the reason People's Conference stopped participating in the polls is because of massive rigging, the 1987 rigging. National Conference and Congress rigged 1987 blatantly, that is the reason we moved away from polls. I should be asking this Delhi boy that why did you rig polls."
The People's Conference chief spoke of his inclination towards mainstream since the beginning, further accentuated on the 'slander campaigns and false propaganda' that follows.
He said, "I personally claim and joined politics, and very tough battle, its not very easy especially if you are in that camp. I'll tell you something, when I was in separatism I used have leanings towards the mainstream. This mainstream cropped in their private discussions that he is not separatist enough and now when I'm in mainstream, they say he's too mainsteam."
"These are the accusations you will have when you join, the vendetta, the slander campaign the false propaganda that the incumbent mainstream political parties start when some separatist tries to join. So forget the political survival, your physical survival is at stake and any separatist has to come over, would not have to fight people but first have to fight the slander and propaganda," he added.
"These two dynasties are the most heavily protected in the entire country, after the Prime Minister, I think they are the most heavily protected, their families even their dogs have security. So they can do and make a person so vulnerable that he would just quit," he added.
The Central government banned Yasin Malik-led Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) under anti-terror law after a systematic crackdown on the Hurriyat leader, speaking over which, the PC leader maintained how 'bans don't work'
He said, "It does not work, bans don't work. Look at it from a different view point, when you look at it from Delhi you look at separatism and mainstream, but when you look at it from Kashmir we look at separatism, mainstream and in separatism those who follow violent path and those who follow political path. If you're going to ban overground political outfits of separatism the only way left out for them is to go underground."
He was further questioned if he echoes the stand of regional politicians who cite JKLF's ban as a mere 'election gimmick' ahead of the General Elections.
He said, "I don't know, I wouldn't term it a gimmick or something but as far as Kashmir is concerned, the damage is done. I have seen them suffer, seen them in jails, I haven't been in jail for a long time but I have seen Yasin in overground and I have seen him in overground also, from underground to overground and now you push him to underground and I really don't think its good."
Identified as a glaring issue that was even addressed by Lt Gen KJS Dhillon who appealed to the Kashmiri mothers to "stop" their children from picking up arms; speaking over the soaring concern of radicalisation of Kashmiri youth Lone stated how 'force' cannot tackle this issue.
He said, "You see radicalism is a state of mind, it is hidden, nobody knows what you are thinking of. It is not as easy to tackle as we think and force is the last thing that will tackle it, since it resides in the mind."
Speaking over the 12-year old boy who was held hostage for about nine hours by Pakistani terrorists was killed in Bandipora on Friday, Lone raised his concerns of the issue not getting enough attention.
He said, "I tweeted about it and I'm afraid a lot of us haven't from my profession, they have chosen to kept silence. I am a firm believer of God and his justice, the perpetrators I believe and I trust will go to hell and the society needs to wake up."
PDP cheif Mehbooba Mufti decided to represent for the Parliamentary elections from the Anantnag seat in Kashmir, speaking over which Lone extended his good wishes to the former chief minister.
He said, "She has been my chief minister, I wish her good luck, our party candidate is there."