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Mainstream, VOL 62 No 23, June 8, 2024

Wah, what a grand fight the secular parties & the masses of the country gave to the right-wing forces! | Humra Quraishi

Saturday 8 June 2024, by Humra Quraishi

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6 June 2024

What a relief! Wah, what a grand fight the secular parties and the masses of the country gave to the right-wing fascist forces! Well done, committed leaders and the hundreds and thousands of men and women and teenagers who worked endlessly in this heat and dust …saving this land from the grasp of those who spoke of hateful divides in those hate-filled speeches!

So much to offload. Foremost, with these election results coming in, it’s been great to realize that our fellow citizens saw through the political manipulations and tactics of the ruling lot. Together with that, they well-grasped the message of peace and peaceful co-existence that the young secular-minded leaders of the country focused on. Yes, it was
reassuring to hear Rahul Gandhi, Akhilesh Yadav, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and their party men and women, highlighting the real issues hitting us - unemployment, poverty, hunger, and homelessness. Focusing on these crucial issues. Above all, upholding the great diversity that this country was well known for, till the Right-Wing forces tried to trample on it, doing their level best to make us suspicious of the other if not hate and kill each other.

One of the reasons for the defeat of several of the BJP’s top brass in Uttar Pradesh is connected to the mass bulldozing of homes in several towns and cities of the State. Yes, the homes of hundreds of the residents were destroyed by the State machinery in Ayodhya and also in Benaras and even in Uttar Pradesh’s capital city, Lucknow! Paving the way for broader roads, supposedly to do away with congestion and clutter, to make beautiful sites! But can any of the excuses be good enough to destroy the survival structures of the poor and of all those who cannot even afford to provide their families two square meals a day!

Blatantly communal speeches of the rulers of the day, brought about fierce reactions, not just from the members of the minority communities but even from those in the majority segments. This was seen as crossing the tolerable limits! Never before had they witnessed such a pathetic scenario where the prime minister of the country was heard giving speech after speech not as a prime minister ought to have spoken, but as though spreading around divides and divisions! Not talking of the plight of the farmers or the dismal condition of our unemployed youth forced to rush towards Israel for jobs, or the frightfully rising prices drastically affecting the very survival of the masses. Instead, he dragged in Mangalsutras and Musalmaans in those electioneering speeches!

Just too fed up and disillusioned is the young Indian of today. He or she wants to see a change. A change towards the positive. And that more than explains why they voted for the Congress, Samajwadi party and for several regional political parties, whose leaders worked non-stop, to try reach out to the masses. Giving them assurances and that much-needed hope of jobs and livelihoods. Above all, that hope that peace and secure environment will prevail in this country, for people from all communities and castes and creed.

Several heroes have stood out during this entire phase. Rahul Gandhi has definitely emerged as the popular leader of masses. Tallest leader who didn’t give up…undertook those tough padyatras across the country to reach out to each citizen. Making that crucial connect with great sincerity and earnestness.

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And if one were to talk of the Kashmir Valley, it’s simply amazing to see Abdul Rashid Sheikh alias Engineer Rashid, win by a margin of over two lakh votes from the Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency. He defeated the former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.

The biggest factor to Engineer Rashid’s win is that he has been sitting imprisoned in the Tihar Jail from the last five years ( from 2019 ) after he was charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. His two sons Abrar Rashid and Asrar Rashid campaigned for him…along the emotional strain - “jail ka badla vote se.”

Here I would say that Engineer Rashid’s reputation as an engineer turned politician held out ...also responsible for his win. He’s known all over the Valley for his connect with the people and also for the work he’d done for his constituency people. He worked for his constituency after he resigned from his job as an engineer in the Public Works Department to contest the Assembly election from Kupwara’s Langate constituency in 2008.

About nine years back I had met Engineer Rashid in Srinagar for an interview and he did come across as one of those politicians committed to his people. His talks centred on his constituency and his work… And when I asked him that with his background as a trained engineer why did he leave his job and moved into the political scenario, he had this to say: “Yes, I’m a qualified engineer but joined politics to escape police brutalities but now I realize that even now those police brutalities can be unleashed on me because of the Right-Wing making inroads in the Kashmir Valley… creating unrest here, in the Valley.”

Looking and sounding emotionally pained and upset, he’d gone on to say that his name was dragged into a ‘beef party’ hosted at Srinagar’s MLA hostel, though he had nothing to do with that party nor with what was consumed or served there, in that so called party. “Rumours were spread around that I had hosted that party! This was done deliberately to ruin me!”
It gets relevant to mention that those rumours carried a severe aftermath.
Following those rumours, Right-Wing goon had thrown petrol bombs on two Kashmiri truckers, Zahid Rasool and Showkat Ahmad. Zahid Rasool had succumbed to this injuries. Also, ink and paint were thrown at MLA Engineer Rashid and also on the relatives of the two Kashmiri truckers, after they had held a Press Conference in New Delhi, at the Press Club of India.

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