Trouble In Hurriyat

Trouble In Hurriyat

1 June 2013
Kashmir Watch


Srinagar: Shah’s close aides say Mirwaiz did not keep his commitment he had made with Shah when he rejoined the amalgam. Mirwaiz, on the other hand, continued to maintain that the decisions in the Hurriyat were taken through consensus or on majority bases, and Shah was not following those decisions. The separatist amalgam Hurriyat Conference, after remaining in oblivion for a long spell, has again caught the public attention: but, as usual, again for wrong reasons. Its moderate faction is at the verge of yet another collapse. One of its influential leaders and chief of Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) is likely to walk out of the conglomerate. As a first step, Shah has withdrawn its representative from the amalgam’s Pakistan chapter. Shah’s representative Mahmood Ahmad Sagar was presently head of Hurriyat faction’s Pakistan version. The reason, as put by Shah, Hurriyat is not coming up to the expectations of the people. Shah had not been pulling well with Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, the amalgam head, for the past two years. He publicly criticized some of the Hurriyat initiatives and policy statements in the past. He opposed Hurriyat leaders’ Pakistan visit last year. Shah took Mirwaiz head-on and sought expulsion of Professor Abdul Gani Bhat for the latter calling UN resolutions on Kashmir obsolete and impracticable. This virtually led to public brawl among Hurriyat headquarters. The Hurriyat activists came to blows on the Hurriyat headquarters over Professor’s statement. The Mirwaiz supporters hit back at Shah when they attacked him at Khanyar at the gutted shrine of Hazrat Shah Abdul Qadir Jeelani (RA). Shah was ruthlessly beaten and roughed up there. There is no denying the fact that Shabir Ahmad Shah had always maintained a distinctive position in the amalgam. He was expelled from the Hurriyat Conference in 1998 for holding meeting with then visiting American Ambassador Frank Wisner against the collective diktat of the amalgam. The Hurriyat was dealt with another jolt when the most powerful voice in the amalgam Syed Ali Geelani walked out along with over a dozen constituents and formed a parallel platform. After remaining out of the amalgam for about 10 years, Shah rejoined Mirwaiz-led faction in 2008 with a public commitment to re-unite all the factions and groups with separatist leanings at one stage, and institutionalizing the platform at grass root level with units at all levels. The Shah with support from Mirwaiz initially took some steps in setting up Hurriyat offices at district headquarters but these were immediately dissolved after Shah was arrested and lodged in jail in the wake of Amarnath land row. The following years saw more dissent among in the Hurriyat faction. He voices of dissent with Shabir Shah in the forefront came to to be heard clear and louder over the past some months. Even as Shabir Ahmad Shah always dismissed the reports of him walking out of the amalgam but he has been keeping away from amalgam’s meetings over the past six months. Shah’s close aides say Mirwaiz did not keep his commitment he had made with Shah when he rejoined the amalgam. Mirwaiz, on the other hand, continued to maintain that the decisions in the Hurriyat were taken through consensus or on majority bases, and Shah was not following those decisions. Whatever the fact, it is a grim fact that the Hurriyat had never been one ideological or organizational unit. Its leaders have conflicting interests. That has been seen by the differing voices the faction leaders have been raising on crucial issues. Senior faction leaders Bilal Lone and Abdul Gani Bhat are walking a separate path while Shabir Shah, Naeem Khan and other amalgam leaders tread in quite opposite direction. The faction head Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has chosen middle path. He neither opposes nor supports, at least in statements, any of the two conflicting courses. That has made a major section in the amalgam wary. They say that they don’t know what they exactly stand for. The ambiguity of the purpose has made Hurriyat a non-serious platform. That is perhaps against this backdrop that the developments, positive or negative, in the amalgam little interest a common man.