Kashmiri leaders of virtually all political hues seem to have embarked on a competitive spree of bestowing the halo of ‘Martyrs’ on ‘Traitors’ who waged war against India. Afzal Guru’s recent hanging on the orders of the Supreme Court after a lengthy trial for his role in the Parliament House attacks in December 2001 was the igniting point for Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to demand that the remains of not only Afzal Guru but also of Maqbool Butt hanged decades back be exhumed and sent back from their Tihar Jail burial sites to the Kashmir Valley for interment there.
Treating traitors as martyrs was the appellation used by a former Director of the Intelligence Bureau on a recent TV panel debate. He aptly described this competitive game between Kashmiri political leaders. Going further, is it not strange that Kashmir Valley political leaders who have or had assumed power on oath of allegiance to the Indian Constitution should now be airing such outlandish assertions.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been unwise in making such calls and it belies the claims projected in the media of his being a secular Kashmiri political leader. Strangely he seems to have come out with these assertions even though he wields power on the coalition support provided by India’s ruling party – the Congress.
Such calls normally were expected from Kashmiri separatist leaders but not from the Chief Minister and not to be outdone by the main opposition party Chairman who at one time was India’s Home Minister and India had to pay heavily thereafter to get his daughter released from hostage captivity of terrorists.
This competitive game of bestowing the appellation of martyrs on traitors was soon overtaken by other sensational events in the fast churning political happenings in India. But that should not induce complacency in the Indian governing and Kashmir policy establishment.
It is a danger signal that cannot be ignored or overlooked and portends the shape of Kashmir Valley political stances against New Delhi. It becomes more ominous when viewed against the backdrop of Kashmir Valley separatist leaders on visits to Pakistan hobnobbing with the likes of the Mumbai 26/11 main conspirator.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been a vocal critic of the Indian Army and security forces being armed with the legal cover of AFSPA - an Act which provides legal cover to combatting terrorism and insurgency in the State. Shockingly as if to placate him partially, Government orders were given to CRPF policemen to patrol the streets without arms. What was the result? Two unarmed CRPF policemen were gunned down by terrorists.
Something is really amiss in the Kashmir Valley and if not tackled seriously and strongly by the Government in New Delhi, India may have to pay a heavy price for overlooking the trend that is surfacing. Obviously, no nation-state with even an iota of respect for national honor can afford to let such trends go unchallenged.