Omar Abdullah is trapped between the BJP and the Hurriyat. At any other time it would have been a wonderful place to be in, berated by two extremist groups. Unfortunately for him, their reasons for putting him on the mat are vastly different.
The chief minister has been quoted from Twitter as saying:
"If the J&K assembly had passed a resolution similar to the one in Tamil Nadu on Afzal Guru would the reaction have been as muted? I think not."
The death penalty for Rajiv Gandhi's killers has been delayed by state intervention. This is unusual.
Omar is right in that there are different standards. Interestingly, the muted reaction he was complaining about has agitated people and 'unmuted' them. The BJP is going hoarse with sudden concern for Rajiv Gandhi. (They are quiet over the acquittal of Haren Pandya's killers. Pandya was a BJP man who later had a fallout with Modi.)
The BJP uses the phrase "sovereignty of the nation" rather loosely. Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, unfortunate as it was, had its own dynamics that had to do with policy. The LTTE is not an Indian organisation, although it has its supporters. Such support results in huge electoral gains.
The BJP is worried about this aspect. After all, Priyanka Gandhi had met Nalini, one of her father's killers, in Vellore jail in 2008. The death verdict was given 11 years ago. Why did the BJP not put pressure to expedite it as they have done on a regular basis in the case of Afzal Guru, an Indian?
Omar Abdullah was pointing out the double standards, and one should see this as part of a thriving democracy that we are so chuffed about, with people out in the street.
However, the Hurriyat's Mirwaiz Omar Farooq has wondered why if he is so concerned about Afzal does he not resign. Again, we are faced with a missing the wood for the trees situation.
Omar Abdullah was in fact speaking as a political leader and expressing the helpless predicament of dealing with Kashmir. He chose the wrong forum to do so.
A few 'other' questions too need to be asked:
1. Would he raise the issue in the J&K assembly?
2. If so, would it mean he is doing so on humanitarian grounds or on a legal/factual basis?
3. If the latter, then would he risk providing possible loopholes?
4. How often do fake encounters figure in the assembly?
5. Does exposing political hypocrisy - I am assuming the muted reference was to politicians - enough?
This is a question for all parties. We do live in times when terrorists too have a vote bank, that is those who are not behind establishment-buffered terror.
Answers need to be sought in the right place, unless the 'people's movement' has seeped into the system's bones. In that case, stone pelters should be excused.