I have often wondered why we let rabid separatist 'leaders', who constantly and publicly denounce the Indian state, roam free in Jammu and Kashmir.
How come angry cartoonists and Naxal 'sympathisers' are jailed for treason and sedition elsewhere in the country, while we fete, feed and protect people like Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mohammed Yasin Malik?
Yes, the same Geelani who, as Amir of Jamait-e-Islami, urged mosques across Srinagar to continuously broadcast messages like "We do not want Pandits in Kashmir. We just want their women!" over their loudspeakers in the late 1980s and early 90s.
The same Geelani who now opposes a concert by Zubin Mehta in Srinagar because it would 'legitimise Indian rule in Kashmir.'
Yes, the same Yasin Malik who led the JKLF's murderous rampage against Pandits and the Indian state in the late 80s and early 90s, burning and looting Hindu hamlets at will. The same Malik who shared a dais with Lashkar-e-Taiba leader Hafiz Sayeed in Islamabad in February, to protest against India's execution of Parliament attack plotter Afzal Guru.
I have also wondered how these two men, who have the blood of countless Indians on their hands, earn their living.
Does Yasin Malik have a day job? What does he do for a living? Who funds his travel and other expenses?
Geelani was arrested in 2002 for receiving money from Pakistan's ISI, but later freed on 'health grounds'.
But why did the Indian taxpayer have to foot the bill for his cancer treatment, and for his high security trip to Mumbai for surgery by special aircraft? We even returned his passport, but the scumbag was denied a visa for treatment in the US, because he had criticized American policy on Iraq.
And we are supposed to be happy because he declared that he was "a senior citizen of India" in 2003, in order to avail travel concessions available for elderly Indians?
While searching for answers, I stumbled upon something called the Forty-Third Report On Offences Against The National Security, by the Law Commission of India, which was submitted to the government way back in August 1971.
"Treason is gravest crime known to society and by the law of every country traitors are liable to the severest punishment," it begins. "It is a crime directed against the very existence of the state itself, and is therefore peculiarly odious."
"Though sedition may have the same ultimate effect as treason, it is generally limited to the offense of organizing or encouraging opposition to government in a manner (such as in speech or writing) that falls short of the more dangerous offenses constituting treason," it quotes from the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Recommending that the various existing laws which deal indirectly with these two crimes be brought under a comprehensive National Security Act, it goes on to assert that "activities intended to detach a part of the territory of the country...stand at the apex of treasonable activities."
Image: Kashmir's All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani (C) leaves the Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi on July 3, 2012. (AFP)