Why Hurriyat is fatigued and Geelani is scheming

The very ideology of projecting Kashmir as a Muslim issue is now backfiring.

 |  3-minute read |   10-08-2017
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Hurriyat hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani urging mainstream leaders to join the separatist outfit in Kashmir is just another diversionary tactic to throw off the ongoing NIA probe against the Hurriyat brass, and is aimed more at his own survival.

Coming from Geelani, this overture is neither new nor unique. He had given a similar call in August 2008, at separatist leader Shiekh Abdul Aziz's memorial service.

That it comes only days after the NIA reportedly found evidence against Geelani in a terror funding case is no surprise. Such a pitch was made in July 2016 too - in a joint statement issued by Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik.

That Independent MLA Engineer Rashid has expressed his willingness to join Geelani is no surprise either. At least he was speaking his mind - a thing that too many Kashmiri leaders cannot be accused of doing in recent times.

As soon as the spotlight of the NIA probe fell on the Hurriyat leaders and some of them were arrested, reports emerged that at least a couple of mainstream political leaders opened backchannel talks with the families of the arrested leaders.

Reportedly, they did their utmost to convince them that the state government was doing everything in their power to get them released.

What was the hurry? Well, the Hurriyat’s fatigue is growing - for one. Slain militants wrapped in the flags of the Islamic State, unfurling of IS flags at rallies and protests across the Valley, growing disenchantment of the Kashmiri youth over the status quo - and all its symbols - including the Hurriyat, Hizbul Mujahideen, restrictions, lack of growth and opportunities - almost everything.

In search of a new identity, they may have started to migrate towards the IS and its borderless, pan-Islamic ideology. It is a reason for concern for the government and the security establishment, but it will turn out to be a bigger concern for the non-performing assets of the Hurriyat.

Their writ still runs in the Valley but having no programmes to engage the youth in constructive causes, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference will find, at a point of time, that the ideology of a pan-Islamic movement cannot be checked either by Pakistan or its intelligence agencies, or by the already beleaguered Hurriyat.

The very Hurriyat ideology of projecting Kashmir as a Muslim issue is now backfiring. Questions are being asked - just whose aspirations does the Hurriyat represent? - the youth, the orchard owners, the houseboat and hotel owners, maybe traders? None of them – the Hurriyat represents themselves and no one else.

Flush with funds - both from their Pakistani masters and from the Indian state and central government that provide them with a long list of perks - they have become landlords of their own domain.

Their families are not directly or indirectly engaged in the conflict - most of them are not even in Kashmir or India for that matter. There are others to be sacrificed at the altar of Kashmir - young boys and girls of the Valley, its labourers, traders, why the very free spirit of Kashmir, its famed Kashmiriyat.

There is nothing more to sacrifice now in Kashmir - in over 23 years of existence, the Hurriyat has ensured that it cultivates negativity in the Valley - this negativity could well spell their doom someday.

Also read: Modi government must keep its promise and break Hurriyat


Arindam De Arindam De @arindamde01

The writer is journalist working with India Today.

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