The country has been asking this question from the Kashmir Government since last two decades, more so after NIA started investigations to reconfirm that the separatists are the biggest conduits for terror funding, as to why they are being protected on taxpayers money? It most frustrating for any Indian that these separatists who do not spare any chance to embarrass the country on any possible occasion, get such preferential treatment. The news of the son of senior separatist leader Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, who was recently appointed as successor by hardline leader Syed Geelani of his Tehreek-e-Hurriyat party, has reportedly joined the militant group Hizbul Mujahideen by media, further indicates the damage they are causing to India.
The issue has been debated over many times. Law and order being state subject, The Kashmir Government/ their representatives defend the act on following grounds
- Government has to protect all citizens as part of responsibility. If that be so what about the security personnel and other citizens? Can India spend the same amount on their protection?
- If they get killed, many more will get killed due to demonstrations. If they claim to represents masses then whom are they threatened from? Who will kill them? Definitely not the security forces. In few districts of Kashmir, protests do occur on death of Burhan Wani, does it mean that the Government will start protecting militants?
- Giving them protection will help in tracking their activities. To the contrary the tracking can be done covertly and they can be fired upon when they are doing militancy promotion act. The protection guard cannot fire on them, even if they are doing heinous crime because they are in his custody.
None of the argument convinces any security person, who lays down his life fighting for the country. These snakes in our arm being milked by some politicians presumably hoping that they are vote catchers and will help them grab power, or those politicians have been grossly terrorised.
There are reports that qualified students like Ashraf who is MBA, one PhD student and many more joined the terror outfit indicates the lucrativeness of the terror industry. The separatists, most of them have their children studying in Metros/abroad, enjoy lavish lifestyle being terror conduits, pushing young innocent children into militancy, earning crores in this process. Being a militant in Kashmir means that the terrorised population cannot report his atrocities like looting, raping etc(Abu Dujana is case in point). The money flow will continue courtesy separatists/OGWs, and if it gets interrupted the option of extortion is easily available. In this Terror industry the innocents can be lured for stone pelting by paying small amount and the terrorised politicians will prefer filing FIR against Security Forces and not stone palters. The protection and privileges provided to separatists, is making their terror industry more lucrative. If their son with MBA degree joins militants, it encourages other youth about the goodies that militancy has to offer them.
Under the circumstances the security forces have and will continue to eliminate militants, but the question is who will try the enemies within? The country is reading enough about NIA investigations but When will the country see conviction of these seperatists?
The out of box ideas like multiparty delegations, interlocutor, granting amnesty to stone palters etc have been tried and will continue to be tried, but sharks swimming inside J&K as separatists,under protection have to be tackled with full national power, immediately, ly, strongly, and honestly in national interest, sacrificing minor political gains, if any.
In this context I am sharing an old discussion on the subject, I happen to participate, highlighting some of these issues on the subject.
(The views expressed are personal views of the author.Major General S B Asthana can be reached as Shashi Asthana on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ and on website http://www.asthanawrites.org)
Major General S B Asthana, SM,VSM, Chief Instructor, USI of India