While home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said he would look into the matter, the security establishment made it clear that the Kashmiri separatist appeared to have gone a bit too far this time.
Home ministry sources said anyone could protest against Afzal’s hanging in India, but Indian nationals could not be allowed to indulge in such activities in a foreign country.
The sources also pointed out that Pakistan, which had otherwise issued a muted statement on Afzal, did appear to have a role in the protest since it hadn’t acted against Malik for violating his visa conditions.
Foreigners aren’t allowed to engage in political activities or hold street protests.
Malik, who married Pakistani artist Mishal Malik in 2009, is in Pakistan on a private visit.
Former intelligence chief AK Doval echoed the view, stressing that New Delhi must immediately take up the JKLF leader’s activities in Islamabad with the Pakistani government.
Intelligence sources said such public interactions with the terrorist leadership could have long-term dangerous consequences for New Delhi, particularly by helping bring about convergence of various terror groups in Pakistan.
The JKLF hasn’t ever been a powerful instrument of terrorism but has always been the initiator, right from the time when Amanullah Khan and Maqbool Bhat founded the militant organisation in Birmingham, UK, in 1977.