On Wednesday, Syed Ali Shah Geelani held a rally in Srigar where the Pakistan flag was freely waved and people raised pro-Pakistani slogans. Worse, separatist Masarat Alam, who had been released from jail last month, praised Hafeez Mohammad, founder of the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba, and asked people to join hands with the organization totally disregarding the fact that Hafeez Mohammad had masterminded the carge in Mumbai that had centred around two hotels and spread to other parts of the city as well. Why Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed should have released Masarat Alam or have failed to crack down on Geelani on Wednesday, are matters that will remain mysteries for any civilized democratic administration. After all, regardless of where the sympathies of Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed lie, the fact remains that he took an oath to abide by the Indian Constitution and to protect and uphold it when he was sworn in as Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir. As such, Chief Minister Sayeed erred grievously in permitting Syed Ali Shah Geelani to hold a rally on Wednesday and to invite Masarat Alam to speak at it. It was only after repeated telephone calls from Union Home Minister Rajth Singh asking Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to take “immediate and stringent” action against the lawbreakers that the J & K Chief Minister called the raising of pro-Pakistan slogans “ucceptable”. On Thursday, Union Home Minister Rajth Singh said, “We will not tolerate anyone raising slogans like ‘Pakistan zindabad’ on Indian soil. There can be no compromise on tiol security.” He told Sayeed that politics could not impinge on tiol security. Pushed into a corner, the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir sought to defend his position of granting permission to the rally, but made it clear that the hoisting of the Pakistan flags and the raising of pro-Pakistan slogans “is not acceptable and will not be tolerated.”
Unfortutely, the Chief Minister’s lukewarm reaction to an act of high treason came rather late and only at the prodding of the Union Home Minister. All that seems to have really been done was to put Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Masarat Alam under house arrest on Thursday, ahead of their proposed rally in Tral town of Phulwama district on Friday. This is an arrangement under which Masrat Alam is better off than being in prison. However, this has not prevented Chief Minister Sayeed from trying to ratiolize his action in according permission for the rally of Wednesday. “As far as the public meeting is concerned, I think it is OK. As I say, democracy is a battle of ideas. They are free to have their own say, to speak their own mind, but something which is not acceptable (hoisting of the Pakistan flag or raising pro-Pakistani slogans) will not be tolerated,” he said, ignoring the fact that he had already tolerated such things.
Over the last few months, people have begun to have a fair idea of how J&K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s mind works on matters even remotely connected to Pakistan. For most political observers, he is turning out to be a security risk for India. And that is why it is time to seek the dissolution of his government and to put Jammu & Kashmir under Governor’s rule, despite the fact that the BJP is an ally of the present coalition government in the State. After all, the security of the country and the State rate a far higher priority than the embarrassment that the BJP might suffer as a consequence of being a coalition partner of the present State government.