Srinagar, Aug 16: Call it a quirk of fate that a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort that Vajpayee’s doctrine of ‘insaniyat, jamhuriyat and Kashmiriyat’ was the only way forward in Kashmir, Atal Bihari Vajpayee passed away. While Kashmiris traditionally have had strong reservations about the right-wing Jana Sangh and its present avatar, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), they still have respect for Atal-ji. Kashmiris remember that when Vajpayee was the foreign minister, India and Pakistan had good relations after decades. “He was a statesman...the tragedy is that such statesmen are rarely born,” said Prof Muzaffar Ahmad, a retired college principal.
Others say even when he led a right-wing political party, Vajpayee never lost sight of the fact that his leadership qualities would be judged by his ability to win over Muslims and underprivileged minorities. “He believed in his words. He continued to be admired and respected by Kashmiris though his mantra of ‘insaniyat, jamhuriyat and Kashmiriyat’ is yet to be put to practice in Kashmir,” an activist of a separatist party told IANS. There are many locals who recall Vajpayee’s visit to the Valley when he was in the opposition before the outbreak of militant violence in Kashmir. (IANS)