JOURNEY ALONG THE CROSSROAD
DR. K. N. PANDITA
The Kaman Bridge on LoC marks the beginning of Hurriyat’s journey along the crossroad. Fifty-eight years ago, their compatriots, too, had undertaken a journey along the same crossroad. They may or may not escape its hallucinations.
No political organization is as weird as Hurriyat is. Ever since the conglomerate was cobbled together in 1993, it always found itself at pains to mince, mix, eat or suppress words and statements, deliberately creating more confusion and less clarity about its precise objectives and instruments. The reason is that they are riding a bus without any control on its driver. Its double speak is a class by itself that embodies the strange blend of ridicule and sublime, an art in which Kashmir political class is remarkably adept.
Hurriyatis wantsazaadi. Well, azaadi from whom and for what? They want freedom for receiving arms from their mentors, for militarizing their youth, for whipping up religious passion, for contriving the killing of their compatriots, for effecting ethnic cleansing and then for raising great hue and cry as a victimized lot. Have they not the freedom to do all this?
In his address to the PoK assembly, the Hurriyat leader Omar said that their movement would not wait for those who did not join it. That isprecisely what the hero of historical Kashmir freedom struggle, Sheikh Abdullah had told the handful of his political dissenters in 1947. Why does the Hurriyat adopt a double standard by asking for the reversal of the decision of the masses of people? If this is the rule then the fate of Hurriyat movement is not difficult to anticipate.
Omar says that he wants peaceful solution of the issue and that military solution was out of question. In the same breath he and the JKLF supremoYasin, after their meeting with PoK-based chief of the United Jehad Council, Salahu’d-Din said that their armed struggle would continue until India accepted Kashmir a disputed territory and trilateral talks for its resolution. What a contradiction in terms.
In other words, the leaders of the political and operative wings of the Hurriyat both agree to continue violence and killing in Kashmir. No doubt they are very sincere in their objective because they know that Kashmir sans violence makesthem redundant to their own society.
For more than two years, the Hurryatis have been saying that they have asolution formula for the Kashmir tangle up their sleeves and they would give it out at proper time. And when they arrived in PoK, they said they would be meeting with General Musharraf to ask him what plan he has for the solution of Kashmir issue. Thus, first they would know the General’s plan and then disclose their own. No keen observer of Kashmir situation has any doubt that their plan is the General’s plan.
Obviously, the General’s plan is one that suit’s the interests of Pakistan. And as Hurriyat’s plan is the General’s plan, it indirectly wants to convey to the people of Kashmir that its plan is what is in the interests of Pakistan. The slogan ofazaadi evaporates in thin air. Thus the “martyrs” of Hurriyat’s description sacrificed their lives for Pakistan and not for azaadi. Isn’t the Hurriyat misleading the Kashmiris.
What are Pakistan’s interests? It is that Kashmir is its jugular vein (shah rag). Thus the Hurriyatis are in Pakistan to offer them the shah rug. This, therefore. is the end all of their mission to the crossroads.
The Hurriyatis met with the Pakistani President to ask him what his plan for Kashmir was. They did not tell him what their plan is. The Pakistan president reiterated that Kashmir issue could not be resolved on the basis ofreligion and the Hurriyat President parroted this mantra. If the Hurriyatis are dedicated to the freedom of the Kashmiris and are defending Kashmiriyyat, then they should have told the General that in pursuance of his own statement, the first thing the Hurriyat would be doing was to bring back the exiled Pandits because as long as the Pandits remained outside from their native land, the world would consider Hurriyat’s stand as one based on religious discrimination and Kashmir question could not be solved on religious basis. It is, therefore, amply clear that by asking Kashmiris to be the third party whose participation in the trilateral dialogue is essential, the Hurriyatis mean Kashmiris sans Pandits, the indigenous religious minority community whose ethnic cleansing from the valley has been successfully brought about under a well-calculated plan in 1990.
After their meting with the Pakistani President, the Hurriyat leader Omar has comeout with his organization’s much touted plan. Low and behold, it is precisely the same which the General had spelt out a couple of months ago, viz. geographical distribution of the state into units along ethnic, linguistic, cultural and religious lines.
If that be the case, then the millions of people of the state displacedagainst their free will as a result of tribal invasion of Kashmir in 1947, shall have to be brought back and rehabilitated in their places of origin. That has to be the ultimate underlying idea of opening Srinagar - Muzaffarabd bus service to be followed by opening other routes in Jammu, Poonch and Kargil regions. Therefore the return of the refugees has to precede the exercise of identification of units and search for their administrative arrangement.
And this process, in turn, means dispossession of the refugee (mohajir) properties in both parts of the State and its restoration to the legal heirs. It will be reminded that the Supreme Court of India, in one of its recent verdicts, has disallowed dispossession of migrants’ properties. As such, there is a legal aspect also to the whole issue.
Pakistani General’s statement that Kashmir issue could not be resolved on the basisof religion has come only years after the entire Hindu community has been wiped out both from the PoK (in 1947) and Kashmir valley (in 1990). So far Pakistan has been laying claim to Kashmir exclusively on the basis that a separate land for the Muslims of the sub-continent had been created. He knows it better than anybody else that the Indian ruling class is deliberately circumventing any reference to the segment of displaced Hindu community of the state because if they so it would expose their pseudo-secularism and lose them the majority Muslim vote that keeps them saddled in the seats of power.
Despite hard persuasions of Pakistan, the Hurriyatis have not been able to forgeunity between its two factions. Geelani has turned his guns on the Pakistani General. This has come close on the heels of the grand convention of thousands of Deobandi mullahs of Pakistan held in the State owned ceremonial Convention Hall in Lahore recently in May. The top leaders of all five right wing Islamic parties converged in the convention where the continuation of jehad and legitimacy of suicidal bombing were resolved for liberating the Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kashmir. Geelani has been castigating General Musharraf not on his own but on the strength of the Deobandis across the border.
This being the ideological parameter, it is interesting to note that while theHurriyatis have not been able to forge unity between the two factions for last one year or more, it took the two leaders ( Amanullah and Yasin) of the militant outfit JKLF just 45 minutes of meeting to bridge the split and forge unity between the two. The reason is simple. Both of them are committed to the chief of the United Jehad Council that the armed struggle would continue till India was brought to its knees.
In final analysis, we find that the journey of the Hurriyatis along the historical crossroad is veering round two broad objectives. One is to attune their word and deed to that of Pakistan and the second is to reinforce materially and morally the armed struggle against Indian presence in Kashmir no matter what price the innocent Kashmiris of the valley are made to pay for it.
(The author is the former Director, Center of Central Asian Studies, Kashmir University)