Peace restored in Bhaderwah after communal tension
The coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir would have landed in another crisis but for the intervention of Congress troubleshooter and Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad. His role in averting a potential communal showdown in Bhaderwah has brought relief to the government, which is still recovering from the aftermath of custodial death of National Conference worker Syed Mohammad Yousuf.
Tension gripped Bhaderwah town after a history teacher in a local college invited the wrath of students of a particular community for some objectionable observations in class. The issue snowballed into a controversy putting two communities on the edge. With people coming to the streets and observing a strike in neighbouring Doda and Kishtwar, the situation became tense.
Mr. Azad had to fly into his hometown and spend three days to iron out the differences. “People in the entire Doda region have a lot of respect for him and they cannot let him down. But for his intervention, the situation could have taken an ugly turn,” said the former Minister, G.M. Saroori, who was camping in Bhaderwah for three days along with Mr. Azad.
Acknowledging the support of both communities in restoring peace, Mr. Azad told The Hindu that there had been a misunderstanding. “But it was exploited by extremist elements in both communities, who were trying to blow it out of proportion,” he said.
Bhaderwah has always remained sensitive and both communities have been locking horns over even trivial issues. The situation changed because of Mr. Azad, who took over as president of the Pradesh Congress Committee in 2002 and tried to rebuild the broken contact between communities. He further cemented it after he became the Chief Minister in 2005. He had won the Bhaderwah Assembly seat by a record margin in 2006.
A troubleshooter for the Congress, he has been handling the crises in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and other States for quite some time.
Concern over delay
Mr. Azad has expressed concern over the delay in implementing the development projects taken up by him during his tenure as Chief Minister. “The implementation is slow and I think it is because of lack of monitoring,” he said. “There should have been much progress of roads and other schemes, but on the ground it is not visible,” he added.