By forcibly preventing the BJP leaders from entering Jammu & Kashmir and unfurling the national flag at Lal Chowk, Srinagar the Congress government at the centre and the Congress supported National Conference chief minister Omar Abdullah have played into the hands of the Pakistan supported separatists in the valley. Both Manmohan Singh and Omar owe an explanation to the nation as to what were the compulsions which made them act in the most undemocratic and unconstitutional manner.
There was no reason or rhyme to arrest and humiliate the top BJP leaders in the government’s effort to stop them from reaching the state. The state border was sealed. All local BJP leaders were taken to preventive custody. The state was converted to a police fortress. All this to make it impossible to flutter the Tricolour on the Republic Day. This should outrage all Indians.
A government which has so often failed in checking Pak sponsored infiltration of insurgents and terrorists, which often looks the other way when Pakistani flags are tauntingly paraded by the secessionists in down town Srinager, which is pussy footing on dealing with the stone-pelters has succeeded in intimidating patriotic citizens from holding the national flag high. What a shame. What a travesty of justice and fair play.
There was no need for the centre to panic or Omar Abdullah to feel offended over the BJP decision to hoist national flag. It is the right of every Indian citizen to hoist the Tricolour in any part of the country. For every Indian, Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and only the pro-Pakistani secessionist in the valley dispute this and hoist Pakistani flag whenever they feel like. Neither the centre nor Omar has tried to ever stop this. It is these elements who get paranoid when nationalist forces assert the unity and territorial integrity in Kashmir.
The BJP Ekta Yatra would have culminated in a peaceful and happy triumph had Omar and the centre cooperated and welcomed the flag hoisting at Lal Chowk. It would have given a fitting rebuff to the separatists and reassured the nationalists in the valley. By acting in the manner in which they did, the Congress government at the centre and Omar Abdullah have only served the secessionists. If India believes Kashmir its integral part there is no need to be circumspect and cagey about it. It is the duty of the centre help in all possible ways to eliminate anti-national elements and provide protection for those working for its fullest integration.
For the BJP, Kashmir has emotional and ideological appeal. Its founder president Dr. Syama Prasad Mookherjee became a martyr in the fight for Kashmir’s full integration. Its national president Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi led the Ekta Yatra from Kanyakumari to Srinagar in 1992 to unfurl the Tricolour at Lal Chowk on Republic Day. In 2008 the Jammu and Kashmir unit of the party led by RP Singh repeated the feat. On all these occasions the people of India responded overwhelmingly. As long as NDA was in power and Omar Abdullah’s National Conference a partner of the BJP he had no problem in fluttering the Tricolour. Now, in the Congress company he is parroting the separatist line. Is the Congress helping national cause or pandering to separatists? Will it abandon unfurling Tricolour at Red Fort also if some loony fringe on some future date threatened violence in the capital? The state cannot go on mollycoddling separatists.
Omar and the central government unleashed a reign of terror to frustrate the BJP programme. By arresting its leaders, preventing them from entering Kashmir, diverting trains and turning the state to a barrack both Manmohan Singh and Omar have gladdened the heart of separatists. They will notch up brownie points and applause from pro-Pak secessionists by serving their cause. If the governments had exercised half the effort joining hands with nationalist forces it would have sent a clear message of keeping the nation one. They seem to have no feelings for the pride of the nation, the sentiments and sensitivities of the patriotic people of India.
True. Tricolour at Lal Chowk would have upset Pakistan and separatists. But it would have become clear to everybody around that India means business. It values its territorial integrity. And the nation would have celebrated the event. A country which prides itself as an economic super power, which nurses ambitions of holding a seat in the UN Security Council cannot behave as if it is not sure of its own geographic boundary. And the BJP is the main opposition in the country, with powerful presence also in J&K. It has a dozen MLAs in the assembly. Its right to hoist the national flag is inalienable, undeniable, legitimate and genuine.
The Congress which of late has deliberately chosen to cut itself free from its nationalist moorings can think the talk of India’s sovereignty and pride schizophrenic. Understandable. It only underlines the dire need to launch a national movement to expose this regime and rouse the country’s sense of national unity and glorious heritage.