We are told that the BJP’s yatra right into the belly of the beast to hoist the Tiranga at Lal Chowk would hurt the sentiments and needlessly needle Kashmiris. Implicit in this argument is the innuendo that perhaps Kashmiris have not acquiesced to their integration with the Union and that they ought to be treated with special  care regardless of their allegiance.  The difference between those who support the yatra and those who do not hinges on this question: just how much accommodation does the Kashmiri separatist sentiment deserve?

On the side of those that believe a greater accommodation is required are those that have never stood for Kashmir’s complete integration with the Union. They back the demand for a special treatment of Kashmir in perpetuity. Since those of the Kashmir vale won’t give up their demand for Azadi they must be suitably bribed or pampered. It is left unsaid that the separatist now bribed with meaningless rights such as special status, more autonomy and such is expected not to stir further trouble.

And that has been the thought process guiding New Delhi’s actions under the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. What is even more galling has been the response of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

As if to confirm the BJP’s accusations of a tendency to be weak kneed or being prone to pampering anti-nationals the Head of Executive power in the Republic could not unfortunately collect the courage to so much as name and shame the BJP for, in his words, promoting a divisive agenda. His statement issued last week   demonstrates his willingness to bat for the separatists under the garb of preserving law and order.  What it also betrays is his loyalty to the cowardly Nehruvian arrangement of not completing the integration of Kashmir into the Union.

One does not need to be a genius to see that the excessive pampering of the seperatists sentiment has done everything but to incentivise a resolution of the issue – in the only meaningful way possible. The counter argument is that a needling flag hoist yatra into the separatist stronghold does not encourage integration. Does the separatist warrant this concern? Just how much accommodation does the Kashmiri separatist sentiment deserve?

The wide berth offered by the Indian Union for civil movements, demonstrations and demands shall and must run out the moment the very flag of the Union acquires an unworthy rival. That much is non-negotiable and that is what this Yatra seeks to affirm.

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Amar Govindarajan is a management professional based out of somewhere in South India. He spends his spare time in bird-watching, dog keeping and reading Popular science. He is also a member of the CRI Editorial team.

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