The recent crackdown on the All-Parties Hurriyat Conference and other separatist and pro-Pakistan outfits active in Kashmir raises one important question: Despite the overwhelming evidence, why was this not done before? In fact, why were these avowedly separatist leaders not just allowed to publicly preach their seditious, virulently anti-India positions, but even protected and fed by various Indian governments?
Let’s take just the case of Syed Ali Geelani, the man who calls for regular shutdowns and hartals in protest against the killing of terrorists in Kashmir by Indian forces, and even admits to being funded by Pakistan.
He publicly declared that ‘India is a bigger enemy of Islam and Muslims than even Israel.’ Yet the same man had no qualms accepting Indian government largesse for his cancer treatment at the Tata Memorial Hospital in 2007. Later, though his passport had been seized by authorities in 1981, former PM Manmohan Singh personally intervened to facilitate the release of his travel documents for travelling to the US for treatment. But ironically, the US refused to grant the man a visa because, as one US official put it, he “has consistently failed to renounce violence as a means of achieving his political goal in Kashmir.”
Despite all this, successive governments in New Delhi had no problems letting this ungrateful wretch and his followers regularly meet officials at the Pakistan High Commission, where he happily received money and other enticements to keep Kashmir on the boil. Though his few rabid followers are mostly limited to Srinagar, he was perceived and touted as a ‘Kashmiri’ leader in New Delhi for over two decades now. But finally, wisdom seems to have dawned in New Delhi. Now that the National Investigation Agency has enough evidence to indict Geelani and his family for funding and fomenting terror, the cases must be taken to their logical conclusion, and all those found guilty must face the legal consequences. It is high time the Valley is cleansed of these anti-national elements once and for all.