A Vexatious Odyssey

A Vexatious Odyssey
  • 2

Masarat Alam’s odyssey seems never ending. The Hurriyat leader was last arrested during the 2010 protests and in the six to seven year interregnum has been released for a brief period of about forty days. About thirty six detention orders , under the ambit of the draconian Public Safety Act(PSA) have been slapped on Alam. Even when the court releases Alam, the police slaps charges on him immediately. While its not clear why he is being serially charged and slapped with PSA’s, one speculation that may be germane is the administrations’ premise is to occlude and keep him away from the public glare and consciousness. The corollary to this premise might be that Alam could be a contender for the leadership of the Hurriyat and by keeping him behind bars, a leadership crisis be created in the Hurriyat. The second reason could be that the administrations operating assumption is that by keeping Alam incarcerated, a law and order situation might be pre-empted. Both these premises and reasons, in the final analysis, are flawed. Consider the succession issue first. The existence of the Hurriyat, howsoever unpalatable it might be to some, cannot be denied. If and when a dialogue over the resolution of the conflict in and over Kashmir is ever arrived at, the Hurriyat, at that time, become the credible negotiating partner or party. If the aim is to wilt and wither the Hurriyat, who would powers that be speak to? In terms of the various uprisings that happen in Kashmir, these have a dynamic and momentum of their own. For instance, Alam’s incarceration did not prevent Kashmir from sliding into deep and widespread protests after Burhan Wani’s killing. A study of these protests reveals that all that causes Kashmir to erupt is a catalyst. The real reason(s) actually pertain to the unresolved conflict in and over Kashmir. Other reasons, factors and even people are incidental to this. It also bears mention that the present administration’s unique selling point(USP) was the so called “battle of Ideas”. Inherent to this formulation was allowance for debate and discourse. But, as Alam’s odyssey suggests, this “battle of Ideas” never really took off. The real reason, to repeat, Kashmir slides into protests and other emanations is the conflict in and over Kashmir. It is towards the resolution of this conflict that the energies of powers that me must be devoted to than serially incarcerating people like Alam who are emblematic of the conflict. It is about time that the Hurriyat leader be given a break and released.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.