New Delhi: Bhartiya Janta Party’s General Secretary Ram Madhav said that besides Pakistan’s dominant influence on Kashmir politics, the young population of Kashmir is getting truly internationalized as one finds Turkey, a Saudi, a Malaysia and an Iran in Kashmir today. He said of-late, even China entered the popular chatter on the streets of Srinagar.

In an opinion piece titled A New Challenge in the Valley, the BJP leader said: “Turkey’s profile is rising fast in the Valley. Posters and photos of Recep Tayyip Erdog˘an, President of Turkey, are a wide presence in Kashmir today. When Pakistan aired the dubbed version of the Turkish television serial Dirilis Ertugrul (Ertugrul’s Resurrection) last year, it became one of the widely watched shows in Kashmir too. The plot of the series, aired on a government channel in Pakistan with the open support of Prime Minister Imran Khan, is based on the life of a 13th-century Turkish leader Ertugrul. Ertugrul’s son Osman Ghazi was the founder of the Ottoman Empire in Turkey. The series was about the Islamic armies fighting the Mongols, Christians, Byzantines and others under Ertugrul’s leadership. It glorifies Islam and projects it as a valiant and victorious faith over all other faiths. However, it was a violent depiction with acts like beheading and brutal wars.”

Madhav in the 1, 519-word long article, further mentioned: “The influence of Iran in Kashmir was limited to senior Shia clerics in the past. But now, even among the ordinary Shias, the influence of Iranian politics is a growing factor. When Major General Qasem Soleimani, Commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard in Iran, was killed in a drone attack last year in Baghdad, many Shia areas in Kashmir were dotted with his posters, an uncommon thing in the past.”

When we say that ‘Kashmir is ours’, it should mean to an average Kashmiri that ‘Every Kashmiri is ours’, he said.

He added that the greatest challenge in Kashmir is that the narrative there is always ‘manufactured locally’. The wider national narrative—what happens in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh—doesn’t have many echoes in Kashmir.

The BJP leader also mentioned about the recently held District Development Council (DDC) elections. He said that despite the declaration of DDC results, the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) is struggling to form the councils.

PAGD is a political alliance between the multiple mainstream regional political parties of Jammu and Kashmir aimed at restoring special status along with Article 35A of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir

Madhav said that PAGD leaders declared the results to be a victory for their ‘anti-Delhi agenda’. “Yet, the internal power struggle in the Gupkar Alliance is so intense that they are unable to elect a chairman and a vice-chairman in each district,” he said.

“While the traditional voters turned up for voting, the younger voters stayed away,” Madhav said referring to the lowest voter turnout BJP witnessed in the elections.

 

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