In a landmark ruling, the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir clamped down on the long-prevailing separatist ideology, which has been the root cause of decades of blood-shed in the valley.
Sending a strong message to those demanding segregation of Jammu and Kashmir from India, the apex court asked J&K High Court Bar Association (HCBA) President (Srinagar) and separatist leader Mian Abdul Qayoom to either shun the violence-inciting ideology or stay incarcerated.
Qayoom, who was detained last year following the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, had approached the High Court to walk out a free man.
J&K HC dubs separatist ideology as "live volcano"
As it upheld the detention of the Bar president, the divisional bench of the HC comprising Vinod Chatterjee Koul and Ali Mohammad Magray observed that Qayoom's separatist ideology was "pertinent and proximate and that it could instigate the youth of Kashmir. The court further noted that the ideology, which has neither gone stale nor is time-bound, can indeed be perilous in the long run.
Taking note of the arguments presented by the Advocate General, the divisional bench ruled that Qayoom will be released if he "declares and establishes by conduct and expression that he has shunned the ideology which is like a live volcano".
Qayoom, who also happens to be a well-known lawyer, was booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) in the wake of the scrapping of Article 370 by the Centre which conferred special status to Jammu and Kashmir. He had filed a petition for quashing of his detention.
In the past, he is known to have represented many separatist leaders who were eventually booked by the police. Qayoom was also summoned by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in connection with a terror funding case in 2017.
What is the separatist ideology?
Those who pursue this particular ideology do not accept Jammu and Kashmir as a part of India. The separatists perceive J&K as an "unfinished agenda of partition" and demand that it should be a separate nation.
Over the years, the ideology has only caused disruption of peace in the valley and is a matter of grave concern for New Delhi.