Jammu & Kashmir has been on the boil for quite some time now and the time is ripe for purging India’s undividable pride, Kashmir, of its separatist elements. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, having established India’s credentials, potential and vision on foreign soils, must shift focus towards an increasingly disturbing development taking place in our own backyard.
A different breed of sinister forces is building up in the valley. They no longer live in rat holes in fear. They are bolder than ever, they don’t kick and scream when taken into custody. Rather, they beam with pride and satisfaction for having successfully rattled the Indian establishment. They truly believe their future lies with Pakistan.
Masarat Alam, a 44-year-old separatist leader in Srinagar, was recently booked under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and arrested for raising pro-Pakistani slogans and waving Pakistani flag in Srinagar. Even after the ‘courteous’ manner in which the arrest was conducted, leading to his house arrest along with Geelani, Alam remained defiant and cheeky. Perhaps, he is aware of the fact that the 84-year-old Syeed Shah Geelani, who is ailing, will not last long. In the end, the mantle of leadership could come to him. He wants to show to like-minded people that he is strong and fearless. On that account, he did succeed.
Unless India lays down powerful laws and ensure its execution, such irritants will continue to thrive. As a country that means business when it comes to zero tolerance for terrorism and India-haters, we need to be more aggressive than ever. If we don’t arrest this menacing phenomenon now, it might be too late tomorrow, when they are stronger and more widespread, better equipped and financially potent.
The Government must immediately initiate action against Alam, pursue all his activities and keep him under surveillance round the clock. One slight deviation, he should be swiftly arrested and handed over to the authorities for questioning and consequent action.
BJP made a historic impact in the J&K elections and because it is also in the Government, it should be able to take pro-active steps to put an end to this plague.
One of the measures that the Government could take is to bring to an end the decades-old practice of the Pakistan’s High Commissioner in India, as well as Pakistani dignitaries visiting New Delhi holding meetings with Hurriyat leaders. What happens between the two entities could potentially jeopardise India’s security. They share common interests, therefore they ought not to be allowed to hold private, secret meetings.
The Government should not fear public uproar and disorder in the State in the event Masarat Alam is tried and convicted. It is critical, now more than ever, to take courageous steps. There is no peace in the valley anyway.