The release of Masarat Alam, a top political prisoner has stirred a hornet’s nest in whole of India. Alam, incarcerated from 2010 under draconian Public Safety Act (PSA),already labeled as “Lawless law” by Amnesty International was released in accordance with guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court of India. These guidelines require serving of fresh grounds on a detenu for every new detention under PSA to discourage State Governments from releasing a detenu through one door & imprisoning him again through another door generally known as “revolving door imprisonment policy”. It has caused a ruckus in Parliament & outside. Prime Minster Modi & his Home Minster Rajnath Singh have condemned Mufti’s decision to release political prisoners in general & Alam in particular. The media has not lagged behind in crying hoarse at Mufti’s decision. Shiv Sena, a fanatic ally of Ruling BJP has referred Mufti as God-father of separatists. The senile Columnist, Kuldeep Nayyar, once a strong votary of resolution of Kashmir dispute through dialogue, in one of his columns published in “Tribune” has questioned the wisdom of Mufti to release the top pro-resistance leader.
Dhongi Baba, Ramdev has advised BJP to immediately withdraw support to the coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir headed by Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. To remind the readers, this self styled guru was caught red-handed on camera discussing difficulties in ferrying black money with BJP MP , Mahant Chandnath in a joint press conference that they were hosting in Delhi (DNA-April 17, 2014) . Jammu Bar Association by joining the melee of condemnations by striking work for one day has proved that ignorance of law is a valid excuse. The hysterical reaction to a single, genuine political step by Mufti, where thousand more such steps are still needed, is a measure of Indian society’s arrogance and its imperviousness to the appeals of those seeking their basic political right & restitution of dignity. The response is typical of military mindset of Indian political class & its jingoistic media.
It needs to be mentioned here that immediately after taking over the reigns of power at Delhi, Home Minster Rajnath Singh had reaffirmed the solemn pledge of Vajpayee to solve Kashmir problem within the ambit of Insaniyat. But decency soon gave way to arrogance. The initial euphoria of bonhomie created by inviting Nawaz Sharief at Modi’s swearing ceremony soon Vanished with Govt. cancelling Foreign Secretary level talks at an apparently trivial but in essence a substantial issue of Ambassador of Pakistan meeting Kashmiri leadership. Substantial because India aimed to exclude people of J&K from the whole gamut of dispute resolution mechanism, which simply is a wishful thinking. Things soured further at cross border firing violations with each country pointing fingers at the other.
The debate in India about kashmir is marred by political arrogance, intellectual indolence & delusion of grandeur. It’s attitude towards resolving the long festering international dispute on Kashmir is not based on some rational analysis or judgment but some vague thinking emanating somewhere from lower part of human anatomy. While Indian political class and their teammates in Kashmir talk loudly about bringing peace and have Kashmir conflict resolved but show no willingness in taking the first serious step at least. While everyone has a role to play but no one is playing it with zeal and dedication. Rhetoric and falsehoods aimed at perpetuating war of attrition is the only visible thing on ground.
If India hopes to achieve an acceptable political solution to the long festering problem then it is imperative that all political prisoners are set free and a congenial & conducive atmosphere prepared for holding talks with all the stake-holders. That was also stated by the group of interlocutors appointed by Govt. Of India in 2010 to explore a political solution to the issue. It will be quite absurd on the part of authorities to think that by putting people in long detentions and forcing them out of circulation or restricting their movements will compel them to forsake their claim for a just solution. In-fact, longer the detention-stronger the resolve to achieve the objective on the simple premise that time spent in jails is an investment for those craving for just & equitable solution & larger this investment- greater the expectations for a full return on investment.
(The author is a practicing chartered Accountant. E mail: email@example.com)