As long as there is terrorism, India must fight it
The India prime minister’s talks with the Hurriyat left most quarters smiling. Why, Dr Manmohan Singh made good on his promise to review the cases of those booked under anti-terrorism legislation immediately after the talks. But the churlish charlatans were at it again — they expressed public displeasure at the Jammu & Kashmir’s state government’s move to arrest leaders of a virulent outfit that has been terrorising ordinary Kashmiri women. And the Hurriyat is taking up cudgels on behalf of a decidedly odious character on the Kashmiri scene reveals that for all its ‘moderation’, it remains a proxy, supporter and apologist for terrorism.
The reason that India is engaging the Hurriyat is not because it is, as it claims, a genuine representative of the Kashmiri people. It is not. The real reason why the Hurriyat is being engaged is because it is a representative of those Kashmiris that favour secession. Engaging secessionists in talks, even if they are unelected, is arguably acceptable in a democratic country. But if the ostensible representative of secessionists refuses to condemn terrorism then there is little reason for the government to treat it with any respect. During its meeting with Dr Manmohan Singh, the Hurriyat continued to equate the violence perpetrated by terrorists and the violence that results from attempts to stop them. After its meeting, it matched actions to its words by defending Asiya Andrabi and her goons, who have recently stepped up their attempts to impose Taliban-like conditions on Kashmiri women. It is quite clear that the Dukhtaran-e-Millat timed its latest campaign of thuggery to coincide with the meeting between the Hurriyat and the prime minister. By taking the bait, the Hurriyat has shown, yet again, where it stands with respect to terrorism. For good measure, they called Asiya Andrabi a ‘freedom-loving leader’.
Elected governments — whether in New Delhi or in Srinagar — will be failing in their duty if they allow terrorists and thugs to challenge the rule of law. The Hurriyat may not notice the irony of championing respect for human rights even while condoning the actions of those who see no wrong in their violation. Given its credentials, that is understandable. But it will be totally another thing for the Indian government to allow terrorism and criminality, in any form, to go unpunished. Too bad if the Hurriyat cannot accept this.