The separatist group Hurriyat, who have for long thrived on the government of India's money for all the good and sundry things, have a lot to worry about. These leaders, who have endlessly been pampered and funded by successive governments at the Centre and in the state, will now face a severe resource crunch, if they have not done enough savings and have other source of funding, which the government agencies may not have tracked.
The word in the Union Home Ministry is "strong action" against all the pro-Pakistan elements in Kashmir, including Hurriyat leaders. Since nothing was official about funding the separatists and Hurriyat leaders, no official announcement would be made about blocking the funding to them, which now runs into several hundreds of rupees on providing them cars, houses, luxury hotel stay, air fare, foreign tours, security, medical expenses and even fuel expenses for travelling inside Jammu and Kashmir. Even the fuel bills run into crores.
In the next few days, there could be a massive crackdown against the elements, hundreds of them, who have been acting from the scene in instigating violent protests, planning and managing the current turmoil in the Valley. So far, the government had been slightly soft against them because it first wanted to restore semblance of normalcy. Now, since the affected parts of the Valley are limping back to normalcy, there is a view that it is time for action now.
A reliable source said the government would act on a three-pronged strategy — first, coming strongly on separatists sopping liberal governmental splurge on them and choking other sources of funding; second, taking tough measures against those who have so far been hiding and acting behind the scene to protect themselves from arrests; and thirdly, continuing to take confidence-building measures like talks with all stakeholders who want peaceful resolution and are willing to talk within the ambit of democratic and constitutional norms.
Most Hurriyat leaders, whose pro-Pakistan tilt is more than obvious, are already under house arrest. It is likely that the kind of facilities they were getting in house arrest would shrink. Many others (and the numbers could be big) would be arrested under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA). The government and security agencies have identified such persons and a detailed dossier on them with suggested action is ready.
The provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act says that a divisional commissioner or a district magistrate could order detention of certain persons for preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of the State or the maintenance of the public order. Those arrested for security reasons can be detained up to a maximum period of six months without trial.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was initially reluctant to go strongly against them but then the situation demanded her to change her stance, something that was reflected recently in her joint press conference with Rajnath Singh.
Sources said "the action will speak for the government. Some tough action will have to be taken against those who are bent on creating disturbances there." The sources added that this would be accompanied with other soft measures, talks and development to instil confidence among people that the government cared for them. The mischief mongers and those acting at the behest from across the border would clearly be on the radar of security agencies.
Take note of the official meetings that have happened in New Delhi since Tuesday. On Tuesday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the Kashmir situation and his visit out there as the leader of the all-party delegation. PM Modi was out to attend the G20 summit in China when the leaders visited Srinagar. It was apparently in that meeting where broad contours of the future course of action was outlined. Before attending the all-party meeting in Parliament House on Wednesday, Rajnath Singh along with home secretary met Army Chief and Director General Military Operations to discuss a coordinated approach various agencies, within command of the home ministry and that of the army, have adopted. The Intelligence Bureau and CRPF are in any case part of the home ministry.
Then, the all-party meeting on Kashmir took place for the third time within a short span of 25 days. While the specific action which the government intends to take were not to be discussed in this meet, as is the norm, the idea is to keep the parties in the loop and keep the dialogue process on and hear views of all sides. If anyone was expecting that a solution or a roadmap will be announced, then he or she was overestimating.
Separatists should blame themselves for inviting the trouble. They have been enjoying the best of life with all the better facilities at their command and hoards of security guards guarding them round the clock. They would rave and rant against the Indian government, yet enjoy all the perks and privilege that one could dream of. But then, they had become so smug and arrogant with successive government pandering to their whims that they forgot there was time and season for everything and all good things had to come to an end.
By shutting the doors on the face of four MPs Sitaram Yechuri (CPI-M), D Raja (CPI), Sharad Yadav (JD-U) and JayPrakash Yadav (RJD), the most prominent Pro-Pakistan separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani not only humiliated these parliamentarians but the highest temple of democracy they represent. It did not matter that these MPs were also to be blamed for breaking the ranks from the all-party delegation, for being oversympathetic towards separatists and overenthusiastic in their approach in landing uninvited at the doors of known mischief makers. The message it sent across the nation came as an opportunity for the government to mull over strong action in the days to come. Rajnath Singh slammed the Hurriyat by saying it was neither Kashmiriyat, nor Insaniyat nor Jamhooriyat.
The intended action would be in sync with the broad mood in the nation. There are many who believe that Narendra Modi was elected with absolute majority to be a strong Prime Minister and to take strong measures, as and when required. By deciding to come strongly against separatists and other disruptive forces, the Modi government has finally set the ball rolling.