The homecoming rally of Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Wednesday afternoon has added to the troubles of an incumbent BJP-PDP government in Jammu and Kashmir.
Pakistan national flags were waved amid the chants of “azadi” in a rally addressed by Geelani in the company of another controversial separatist leader Masarat Alam Bhat in the outskirts of state capital Srinagar.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh has asked the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed to take immediate and tough action against the leaders.
“There can be no compromise on national security. Politics cannot impinge on national security” Rajnath Singh reportedly told Mufti Sayeed on Wednesday night.
Though the police have filed an FIR against SAS Geelani, Masarat Alam and Peer Saifullah under Section 13 of UAPA and sections 120-B, 147, 341, 336 and 427 of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) but no one has been put under the arrest as yet.
Even as the state police proceeded with filing of an FIR, the separatist leaders too got a backing for their act.
“Separatism and Pakistan constituency in Kashmir is a reality and we have to deal with it. We can’t deny democratic space to these people. It is an ideological battle now,” PDP’s Youth wing President Wahid Rehman Parra said.
The rally has stirred political tempers as Congress workers protested against the incumbent BJP-PDP government and NDA government at the centre on the issue of Pakistani flags been waved.
It was Geelani’s first public rally nearly one and half years after he was released from house arrest. Syed Ali Shah Geelani has been under the house arrest since December 2013 after he had addressed a passionate gathering in southern Kashmir. PDP-BJP alliance government led by Mufti Mohammed Sayeed had off late granted him the permission to address a rally after setting him free from his house arrest.
Geelani, in the company of Masarat Alam and other separatist leaders, got a rousing welcome in his hometown Hyderpora in the outskirts of the state capital Srinagar.
However the controversy erupted as the crowds, many of whom were youth, waved Pakistani national flags amid the chants of “azadi”. As the chants grew loud, Alam raised the slogan, “Kashmir banega”. Alam had also reportedly shouted, “Jeevay, Jeevay Pakistan (long live Pakistan)” in a response to chants of the gathering.
The seemingly testing alliance between the BJP and PDP has already experienced some strains over the issue of Masarat Alam’s release in March this year.
Alam, a 44 years old hardliner gained prominence in Kashmir’s separatist politics after he organised a massive stone-throwing protest in 2010 in the valley. The then NC-Congress government led by Omar Abdullah had subsequently put him under the detention for disrupting public peace. Since 2010 he was in jail till the PDP-BJP government decided to set him free on 1st March 2015.
Masarat’s release attracted a stirring criticism for the government, both at the state and for the NDA government at the centre.
Under pressure as opposition parties attacked his government over Masarat Alam’s release, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said in the Lok Sabha, “I also lend my voice to the outrage on the release of the separatist… this is not one party’s outrage, it is the nation’s outrage.”