The Hurriyat tale: How separatist leaders with confused ideology thrived in Kashmir politics : India, News


Highlights

  • 1

    This isn’t the first time Hurriyat leaders have been exposed for dubious dealings.

  • 2

    When Farooq Abdullah was CM, CBI had found Hurriyat leaders to have similar links.

  • 3

    While one Hurriyat camp seeks independence of Kashmir, other favours merging with Pak.

India Today has exposed the dubious business of Hurriyat leaders to keep Kashmir on its toes. The Hurriyat leaders have been found involved in money laundering and instigating youths for stone pelting after receiving funds from Pakistan. 

Following India Today’s Hurriyat Truth Tapes, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has launched an investigation into the funding of Hurriyat Conference leaders.

This is not the first time Hurriyat leaders have been exposed for their dubious dealings. During the chief ministership of Farooq Abdullah, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had found Hurriyat leaders to have similar links.

Reports from yesteryears suggest that top Hurriyat, leaders including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, were involved in Hawala dealings and used the funds to foment trouble in Kashmir Valley. http://www.frontline.in/static/html/fl1417/1417s001.htm

This began soon after the birth of the Hurriyat Conference.

HOW HURRIYAT CAME INTO BEING

The All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) was formed in July 1993 when militancy was at its peak in Jammu and Kashmir and there were speculations that it would be dealt with in the same manner as it was done in Punjab, where a Khalistani movement had been neutralised.

The Hurriyat Conference was set up as a political platform for separatist movement in the Valley. It was not a single party but a conglomerate of several outfits with contrasting beliefs and ideologies.

Many observers have linked the formation of the Hurriyat Conference to the Assembly election of 1987. It is alleged that the election was rigged on a massive scale to keep the National Conference-Congress alliance in power.

Many leaders, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who joined the separatist bloc had won in the Assembly election.

In December 1992, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq – then only 19 years old – called a meeting of all social and political organisations of Kashmir. Mirwaiz is the chief priest of Kashmir.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had taken over as the chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Awami Action Committee in 1990, after the assassination of his father Mirwaiz Farooq.

The meeting led to the birth of Hurriyat Conference seven months later and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was chosen as its chairman.

Hurriyat leaders

THE PARTIES OF HURRIYAT

The outfits, which came under the umbrella of Hurriyat Conference, were of varying ideologies. Broadly the outfits were of two streaks – one camp sought independence of Kashmir while other preferred merging with Pakistan.

Another important aspect of the birth of Hurriyat Conference was that most of the constituent outfits had some militant connections. They either had their own militant wings or sprang off militant outfits.

The Hurriyat Conference, however, had not come out of nothing. It was a successor group of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Kashmir (THK).

It consisted of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), Jamat-e-Islami, Muslim Conference, Ittehadul Muslimeen, Dukhtaran-e-Millat, Islamic Students’ League, Mahaz-e-Azadi, Muslim Khawateen Markaz, Kashmir Bar Association and Jamiat-e-Ahle Hadees.

Abdul Qayoom, a noted lawyer, was the chairman of THK.

THE TUSSLE WITHIN

As Hurriyat was a conglomerate of contrasting ideology and agenda, infighting soon began in the organisation. Just 10 years after its formation, the Hurriyat Conference split.

When India – under Atal Bihari Vajpayee – and Pakistan – under Parvez Musharraf – were talking on Kashmir, the rift between Umar Mirwaiz Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani widened.

Mirwaiz wanted to talk with both the governments while Geelani opposed it. They also differed on the question of militancy with Geelani seemingly not against the use of militancy to further his objective.

In 2003, Geelani got pro-Mirwaiz Hurriyat chairman Abbas Ansari removed and replaced him with Masarrat Alam, who is in custody under public safety act. He is also the chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Muslim League and is believed to have deeper connection with the militants.

Yasin Malik (L) and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (R) (Reuters photo)

Yasin Malik (L) and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (R) (Reuters photo)

 

Mirwaiz faction including Yasin Malik – who likes to call himself Gandhi of Kashmiri separatist movement and who assaulted an India Today team yesterday after he was exposed over funding – held talks with the Vajpayee government. Mirwaiz even met the then Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani in 2004.

Geelani did not approve of Mirwaiz’s tactics and walked out of the Hurriyat Conference. He also left the Jamaat-e-Islami to form his own outfit the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Jammu and Kashmir in August 2004.

CONFUSED POLITICAL IDEOLOGY

Geelani came into prominence once again in 2010 on the question of land transfer to Amarnath temple shrine. It was also the year when stone pelting was used as tool by the separatist leaders to spread unrest in the Valley.

Geelani was believed to have played instrumental role in deciding the calendar of protests and unrest in the Valley. Geelani has emerged as the tallest separatist leader among the separatists but the hardliner is facing serious challenges from a harder line.

Recently, militant Zakir Musa – who has since left Hizbul Mujahideen – threatened separatist leaders, including Geelani, with beheading if they attempted to resist Islamic ideology in Kashmir.

GEELANI’s STAND ON ISLAMIC IDEOLOGY INCONSISTENT

Incidentally, Geelani has not maintained a consistent line on the question of Islamic ideology. He has criticised some youths waving ISIS flags in the Valley and also opposed entry of al-Qaeda in Kashmir Valley. 

But, Geelani himself had once called upon killed al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden to declare India his outfit’s enemy and to fight for Kashmiri people.

Geelani’s competitor Mirwaiz is equally vacillating and has remained ambiguous about his equation with Pakistan. Yasin Malik claims to be a militant-turned-non-violent activist but he does not condemn a terror act.

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