‘In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act’. ___George Orwell
And when you do it, the powers that be lose patience, get unnerved and then resort to means both vilifying and repressive. Delhi Darbar through its reliable toadies in Kashmir have religiously applied both the soft-ware and hard-ware methods to break the will of pro-resistance leadership, in particular, Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
After hurling ‘anti-national’, ‘hard-liner’, ‘extremist’ like abuses on the persona of Geelani – employing many a local and Indian journalists and opinion makers for the project vilification – the authorities realized that image of the octogenarian leader continues to soar high in the public ranking, contrary to what they expected from the Goblian propaganda. Caging him in his home and denying him any leeway to reach to people, they (authorities) thought was the best redemption. The monarchial regimes, the dynastic rulers and military dictators had no compunction in suppressing their ideological and political opponents. But how could the advocates of ‘largest democracy’ indulge in activities they cursed the undemocratic forces for and fought the imperialistic regimes? After all choking the voice of dissent and puffing up with the ‘faith in democracy’ are both irreconcilable.
Omar Abdullah, the young scion of Abdullah dynasty, has come up with his own prescription and, I believe, the Delhi Darbar would feel much elated and excited. On the opening day of Darbar move, in Srinagar the Chief Minister told reporters that ‘Geelani is threat to peace’ and his release has become ‘a law and order issue’, as, Omar says, ‘there is a pattern in his speech which incites people…’ (GK, 07 May 2013).
Omar often praises his grandfather, the legendary Sheikh Abdullah, for his “vision” and “statesmanship”. He glorifies the ‘lion of Kashmir’ for his ‘heroic’ struggle against Dogra’s autocratic rule. But when the same ‘lion’ raised voice against New Delhi’s imperialistic designs, he was deposed and banished from the valley. For fear of losing his grip in Kashmir despite hundreds of thousands of Indian army, paramilitary forces personnel and JK police at the back, the imposed Delhi stooge Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad found himself and his regime instable and shaky if Sheikh Abdullah got released.
Since continuous incarceration of Sheikh, who commanded massive support, (India utilized for the accession of state) was in flagrant violation of ‘democratic norms’ and ‘idea’ of state India, New Delhi so proudly chanted, Bakshi (at the behest of Delhi) explained the “reason” behind Sheikh’s imprisonment: ‘He is threat to peace’ and his release creates ‘law and order problem’. Exactly in the same tone Omar defended his decision (in truth Delhi’s directive) by repeating, sentence by sentence, word by word, what Bakshi had said six decades before. With only difference that at that time Sheikh represented the dominant narrative in state and today the same prevalent discourse, more resolutely and invincibly, is represented by Syed Ali Geelani.
The fact of the matter is like Bakshi Ghulam Muhammad, Omar Abdullah is afraid of facing his ideological and political opponent. He knows the crutches his government is propped at will crumble the moment Geelani is released and provided the level playing field. In denying Geelani access to people and placing restrictions on him and his organization reflects that state government (read Delhi) cannot face Geelani politically. An open admission of defeat and a triumph of moral victory Geelani registered against his rivals.
How can Geelani be a ‘threat’ to peace when the shriveled man has no hidden agenda and has all along believed in and stood for peaceful struggle. Only juvenile in Omar can resort to such tantrums. Every one here knows whom he wants to please.