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Happy New Year 2020 to all Readers.          January 2020 Edition of Power Politics is updated.
Issue:Jan' 2020


A Kashmiri Muslim against Art 370

RC Ganjoo

Sheikh Abdul Rahman was the first Muslim in India to join the Jan Sangh to raise the voice of – Ek Vidhaan, Ek Nishaan, Ek Pradhan, against special status accorded to J&K under Article 370, and for integrating the state with the rest of the country.
Sheikh Abdul Rehman was unanimously elected president of state unit of the Jan Sangh in 1972. He was elected to the State Assembly in 1972 from the Hindu-dominating constituency (Jammu North), represented earlier by Pt. Prem Nath Dogra, staunch leader of Dogra Hindus of All Jammu and Kashmir Praja Parishad, founded by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
It was Pt. Dogra who spotted Rehman at a very young age to carry his political agenda forward in the state . Rehman's joining the Jan Sangh was perhaps not liked by party colleagues who hatched intrigues against him. As a result he quit the Jan Sangh in 1974.
According to him, the confrontation with the Jan Sangh sparked when he refused to accommodate Prof. Chaman Lal Gupta as General Secretary of Jan Sangh who had lost to Th. Swaran Singh. " I was communicated that Prof Chaman Lal Gupta be declared as successful candidate for the post of General Secretary as decided by the Nagpur HQ," said Rehman . But Rehman refused to obey it and replied that he had followed the constitution of RSS strictly.

Abdul Rehman with Pt Prem Nath Dogra In a working committee meeting in Delhi , Rehman’s arguments were taken well by Baldev Prakash, Mangal Sen and others. The meeting was headed by Atal Behari Vajpayee, the then Vice President of the party. But surprisingly all the working committee members later supported the decision of dissolution of state unit . It was humiliation for Rehman. He walked out of the meeting in protest , and later resigned from Jan Sangh in 1974.
According to Rehman, witness to partition , the wave of communal frenzy in 1947 spread up to his home town Bhadarwah. 96 of sheikh clan, 16 belong to Rehman's family of which only three survived. The circumstances pushed Rehman to darkness with no means of livelihood and he had to drop his education at class 10.
He was contacted by an esteemed advocate Swamiraj Kotwal from his town who convinced him that he should forget past and look at for future. Kotwal was in process of forming Praja Prashid unit in Bhadarwah and Rehman was the first Muslim to join Praja Parishid in 1949 as in-charge of Doda unit.
In 1954 Prem Nath Dogra, on his first visit to Doda, noticed Rehman's fiery speeches at public gatherings. Pt Dogra picked him and Rehman was given the post of state secretary of Praja Parishid (PP) and executive member of the organization. In 1963 the PP merged with the Jan Sangh.

After his resignation from the Jan Sangh ,Rehman joined the Lok Dal In 1974. Ch. Charan Singh, appointed him state unit President of Jammu and Kashmir and a member of national working committee. During the 1975 emergency, Rehman played a vital role and remained in touch with national political leaders who were lodged in different jails of the country.

In 1978 Rehman was elected Raja Sabha member on the Lok Dal ticket from UP. During this period Kanshi Ram approached him with the proposal that minorities , schedule castes and backward class needed a political party who could fight for their rights. In 1990 Rehman joined the BSP.

Asked about the BJP today, Rehman said its present set-up was playing into the hands of the corporate.