According to reports in the Indian media, Hurriyat leader Masarat Alam waved the Pakistani flag on Wednesday to greet Syed Ali Shah Geelani at a Hurriyat rally in Srinagar, prompting Indian outrage and his arrest. The Indian police then put two Hurriyat leaders, Syed Ali Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, under house arrest to prevent them from leading a planned march on Friday to protest the killing of a militant commander’s brother. Demonstrators on Friday set fire to an Indian flag and hurled rocks at riot police over the arrest of the Masarat Alam. Clearly then, solidarity with Pakistan is not irrelevant, and India is not as in control of the situation as it would like to be. If such events continue to make it to the headlines, it will not bode well for BJPs efforts to squash separatism in the region.

While the Pakistani press calls these flag raisers “leaders”, the Indian media calls them “separatists”, and we know what happens to separatists. Diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks revealed that the International Committee of the Red Cross had briefed US officials in Delhi in 2005 about the use of torture from 2002-2004 by security forces against hundreds of detainees suspected of being connected to or having information about militants in Kashmir. There is a long history of torture and abuse of Kashmiris.

On Sunday, two Indian policemen were arrested for the killing of a teenage boy during the weekend protests. Locals and rights groups feel that such investigations rarely yield results and are aimed only at calming public anger, the crisis of human rights will continue unabated. While Jammu and Kashmir may indeed have had mass participation in elections held under Indian auspices, the participation was not an act of choice due to the fact that voices of those like the Hurriyat are side-lined or silenced. Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP wants to bring the Jammu and Kashmir into the Indian mainstream, while its regional partner, the People Democratic Party, supports self rule.

Foreign Office spokesperson Tasneem Aslam has condemned police brutality in Kashmir and Prime Minister’s Adviser on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz has expressed wonder at the inordinate delay by India in resuming foreign secretaries-level talks between the two countries. But India is uninterested in peace, it seems. India cancelled the talks on its own without consulting Pakistan and even though the Indian foreign secretary visited Pakistan on March 3, formal talks were yet to resume. While Pakistan continually supports the right of self determination for the Kashmiri people, no such gesture has been seen from India.