After Hurriyat leader Mr. Yasin Malik publicly participated with Hafiz Saeed in Pakistan to mourn the death of Afzal Guru there was serious protest among sections of media and politics. One wonders why? Were not Mr. Malik’s connections with Pakistan long suspected? What was covert is now open. That is something to be welcomed. What needs to be considered is why silent cooperation was discarded and public collusion displayed. There is speculation that Afzal Guru’s hanging could lead to renewed militancy in Kashmir. The challenge could be much more formidable.
It is more likely that this clueless government unwittingly is being manipulated by unseen forces. As the UPA puppets go through the motions, whose script do they enact?
In Pakistan it is being whispered that Hafiz Saeed is getting ready to plunge into electoral politics before the next general election due shortly. If that is so, could that indicate a similar decision by the Hurriyat leaders?
Until now the Hurriyat leaders have had the best of both worlds. They have never tested their real popularity in elections. They have not faced the hazards of active terrorism. Their commands to the public are enforced through the terror that can be unleashed by others. They speak for those who wield the gun without undergoing danger themselves. They have acquired palatial properties through unknown sources. They exert influence disproportionate to their strength. So whose interests do they really serve? That is what might become painfully clear in the days to come.
Instead of renewed militancy how will New Delhi react if the Kashmir separatists enter electoral politics and win a popular mandate for their agenda?
The mismanagement of the Afzal Guru hanging will have given them an unbeatable election issue. Not only have doubts been cast by credible voices that justice was not delivered, that the secret hanging violated both legal procedure and humane conduct, but even the reports coming from anonymous sources from inside the jail describe Guru’s last moments in such glowing terms as to make his memory the ideal issue to unite and galvanize already disgruntled public opinion in the Valley.
It is Omar Abdullah’s party that will face the music. Already anxious voices from within it are being heard. National Conference leader Mr. Mustafa Kamal, additional secretary of National Conference and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s uncle, said that the Hurriyat leaders who are patronized and pampered by the Indian government are now revealed to be in equally close touch with Pakistan backed anti-Indian terrorist elements. On a TV channel Mr. Kamal described Mr. Yasin Malik as a “double agent”. Earlier Mr. Kamal had alleged that Hurriyat separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani was on the payroll of the Indian government.
After exposure of Mr. Yasin Malik’s joint meeting with Hafiz Saeed Mr. Kamal told media:
“Saeed had links with Mumbai attacks. Now New Delhi’s conscience should be stirred and people should see what the country is doing. Why do you treat separatists like VIPs within the country and facilitate their travel to different countries. You allow them to go to Pakistan and create problems for pro-India parties principally the National Conference. Why this duplicity?”
Mr. Kamal accused New Delhi of grooming separatists to take over the government of J&K. There are others who echo the views of Mr. Kamal. But they all evade confronting the whole truth. If their suspicions are valid, are Hurriyat leaders the only double agents?
Confronted with the exposure of Yasin Malik sharing the dais with Hafiz Saeed, Home Minister Mr. Sushil Kumar Shinde refused to comment. He said the matter required further study. His hesitation was understandable. Did he not recently accuse opposition parties of fomenting saffron terror? Was not his observation promptly seized and exploited by Hafiz Saeed? Did not Mr. Shinde and Hafiz Saeed appear to act in perfect tandem? Does not the government’s National Investigation Agency (NIA) persist in weakening the UN findings against Hafiz Saeed for masterminding the Samjhauta Express bomb blasts by accusing Hindu terrorists for the same crime? Is help to Hafiz Saeed by the government any less than what is rendered by the Hurriyat leaders? Why, then, should the Indian government frown if Yasin Malik closely interacts with Hafiz Saeed? Are critics sure that the Indian government is not interacting as closely?
It is welcome that Mr. Yasin Malik has made public what had been until now covert. What is required is honest recognition by critics that the interaction with anti-Indian elements in Pakistan does not stop at the level of the Hurriyat separatists. It could go much higher. And unless the truth, the whole truth, is not acknowledged, the real problem will never be addressed. Will critics dare accuse cabinet ministers of acting as double agents? Of course they will not. Then why accuse only Mr. Yasin Malik and Hurriyat separatist leaders?
This writer is not alarmed by the prospects of restructuring the subcontinent provided it is undertaken consciously and rationally in order to promote federal democracy and consolidate the cultural nationalism of the subcontinent. But restructuring compelled by events can lead to disintegration and a fatal weakening of the Indian state. Either by design or by default the decisions taken by this government are leading the nation precisely to such an eventuality. Conspiracy theorists such as Mr. Kamal cannot be faulted for suspecting that the government is sabotaging national interest. However it is more likely that this clueless government unwittingly is being manipulated by unseen forces. As the UPA puppets go through the motions, whose script do they enact? Mr. Omar Abdullah and others committed to autonomy within the nation have cause to worry.
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