In the premises of the National Conference head office at Nawai Subah, security forces usually hang their garments to dry over festoon flags of Kashmir’s grand old party. Office-bearers of the party say they don’t ask the forces to remove these clothes. “We feel hurt, but can’t do anything about it. After the revocation of Article 370, regional parties are facing an onslaught. It is sad to see our flag being covered with underwear, pyjamas and shirts. If we say anything, BJP might make it a national security issue,” says Imran Nabi Dar, spokesperson of the party, with a straight face.
But what does this act by the Indian security forces have to do with the larger debate on Indian federalism, and Jammu and Kashmir’s position within it? To start with, it reflects the sense of powerlessness prevailing among regional political parties as well as the people of J&K.