It came as no surprise when Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani paid tributes to the two Hizbul Mujahideen militants who killed decorated Indian army officer Colonel MN Rai and head constable Sanjeev Kumar Singh during an encounter in south Kashmir's Tral area this week. [Tributes paid to Col MN Rai]
There is outrage in the social media for a couple of days and then it dies down. Kashmir separatists have often made such statements since long and one often wonders, why do they still roam around scot free.
Former officer of the Research and Analysis Wing, V Balachandran discusses with Oneindia the Geelani incident and how it is high time that the luxury being provided to such separatists must stop.
He should have been arrested immediately:
"He ought to have been arrested immediately. The state of Jammu and Kashmir is under President's rule and hence there was no political compulsion either," Balachandran says.
If anybody has made a statement like this it should not be taken lightly. Not just in Kashmir, but such statements cannot be tolerated in any part of the country. There are a number of sections available in the Indian Penal Code to arrest such persons, he also adds.
Why is there is no action against separatists?
The Indian government feels that talks will sort problems. What has happened is that prosecuting these people of arresting is making them martyrs.
Successive governments have given a higher notion of importance to separatists by entering into a dialogue with them. It clearly is not working and is being seen as independence or freedom to say what they please, Balachandran further points out.
Should India continue to talk?
I feel that talks must continue. However this is not the way. When you talk to such persons there should be emphasis on a lot of factors.
They should drop arms, stop provoking the people and making mindless statements. However one must also bear in mind that even if the Indian government wants to continue talking to these people, it should also not come in the way of punishing them when they issue such statements, the former RAW officer also says.
A crime of an extra ordinary sense:
The statement by Geelani is a crime of an extra ordinary sense. This was the best chance for the government to act as there is no political compulsion in Jammu and Kashmir.
Even if an arrest of such a person makes him popular, the government should not bother too much now. It is more important that law and order is maintained and a stern message is conveyed, Balachandran also points out.
The tales of Geelani:
Syed Ali Shah Geelani started his career as a school teacher and was a prominent activist of the Jamaat-e-Islami. He was elected to the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly thrice in 1972, 1977 and 1987. He resigned in 1987 and joined the secessionist movement.
A strong supporter of Kashmir militancy, he always felt that violence had made India realize the problem and address the issue.
Geelani was a known friend of Syed Salahuddin the chief of the Hizbul Mujahideen. The Hizbul has issued many statements warning the Indian government of dire consequences if it took action against Geelani.