Published On: Mon, Apr 21st, 2014

‘Separatist group in league with BJP’

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By Dr. Syed Nazir Gilani –

What happens on May 16, the secret rests with the aggregate choice of the people of India and including of course a more or less expressed participation by the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. It is intriguingly strange to see that some political parties in the election fray see profit in a poll boycott and some sense a loss. Election seems to divide the politics and common person in the Valley in particular. May 16 would give the Republic of India a new Government and be it BJP or Congress, would leave Valley opinion split from the middle. The separatist camp in particular would have hurt each other and as a consequence would have divided the common opinion as well.

It is heartening to welcome chairman Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Shah Geelani back in Srinagar and more heartening to see him in good health. He has never minced words in prosecuting his narrative of politics and the question remains does one ever or never need to leave a room to sound inclusive or not. Jammu and Kashmir is currently divided into three administrations on either side of the cease fire line and so are the people distributed as three people and the fourth Diaspora. A citizen of the State is enduring a life under five Governments and five Constitutions. They are of different faiths and subscribe to different political persuasions. UN mechanism on Kashmir has accepted this plurality and has admitted the freedom of choices as well.

The freedom of choices is guaranteed in the Hurriyat Constitution as well. It is reassuring that Syed Ali Geelani has taken the people into confidence and informed them that he had been approached by two Kashmiri Pandits in Delhi on 22 March 2014 telling him that Modi would be Prime Minister on May 16 and he should talk to him on Kashmir issue.  We sincerely hope that the two Kashmiri Pandits were acting in good faith and in the best interests of all people (Muslims in particular). We hope that the approach was not less than honourable, as many Kashmiri Pandits have been in the past in the process of their acting as middlemen or midwives. Their efforts at times have been noble and most of the time motivated to serve more than one interest. A good leader should time and again keep his followers and others fully informed and updated. Syed Ali Geelnai has left no room for any misunderstanding, in case his meeting with the two Kashmiri Pandits on 22 March 2014 had been revealed to public by any other source.

We have a genuine grievance against some Kashmiri Pandits that they fail to take up their due role beyond the one of offering themselves as conduits of an interest. They do not join us in the promotion and protection of human rights in the State. We have good and well-meaning Kashmiri Pandits, but they seem to turn the other way when it comes to defend life, honour and property in Kashmir. JKCHR filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission of India on 25 February 2013 against the restraints imposed on Syed Ali Shah Geelani in Delhi and succeeded to elicit a positive action on 26 February 2013. Restrictions on Ali Geelani were eased and we were asked for our further comments by NHRC of India in this regard.

We have a latest communication dated 13 March 2014 (copy has been forwarded to Hurriyat G office in Srinagar) from the National Human Rights Commission of India (Law Division) advising us that, “While considering the report the Commission vide its proceedings dated 10.06.2013 directed that the reports be sent to the complainant (JKCHR) for his comments, if any, within six weeks. The comments of the complainant were called for vide a letter dated 16.07.2013 sent through Air Mail. No response from the complainant has been received within the stipulated time. Under the circumstances the Commission presumes that the complainant has nothing to urge further in the matter. Hence the report is taken on record and the case is closed”.
We (JKCHR) owe an apology to NHRC of India for failing to acknowledge its action in assisting us to force the Delhi administration to rehabilitate the liberties of Syed Ali Shah Geelani in February 2013 and that we were satisfied. It would have been a due expression of a courtesy and would have saved NHRC of India time to revisit the case in March 2014.  We have felt the same way for all Kashmiri Pandits during our work at the UN Human Rights Commission (now Human Rights Council) in Geneva. It is unfortunate that a Kashmiri Pandit seems to have turned blind and deaf to the overall situation in the Valley or outside. He however, remains ever ready to offer himself as a ready steady middleman. There are many Muslims who have been doing the same for one or the other party.

One could rest the concern by stating that something is better than nothing. There is no harm to listen to these Kashmiri Pandits and in principle they are one of us and would carry a sense of duty to fairness in these difficult times for Muslims of the Valley. Such interactions should be encouraged and made a regular part of our politics.

One can however, respectfully, love to have an issue with Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s remainder part of the statement that a pro-freedom organization was “in league with BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and was “working against the cause of Kashmiris.”  “Some people have been approaching pro-freedom groups to garner their support for BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. A pro-freedom group, which pinned hope that ‘Modi will turn soft after becoming PM and help in Kashmir resolution,’ met his emissaries in Kashmir. The group is not only in league with the BJP but also has been indulging in secret talks with New Delhi on Kashmir. The party has no guts to make their engagements public.”

Syed Ali Shah Geelani in his own manner may have a merit in his statement. We are blessed to have his manner of character in Kashmir politics. But it does not sum it all. We have three factions of Hurriyat and political parties like JKLF (earlier part of Hurriyat) and many civil society institutions do not constitute part of any faction of Hurriyat. Each school of opinion (political, religious, social and civil society) has to adopt a methodology to prosecute its agenda to advance the Kashmiri interest. It could not be achieved unless there is a dialogue without prejudicing the jurisprudence of Kashmir case. A common Kashmiri has travelled a long way from 1846-1990 and from 1990-2014 in keeping up with sacrifices and in enduring tragedies. He would not be fooled or duped into any result against his or her will. Therefore, the mature and senior leadership should not consume its wisdom in questioning the modus operandi unless it is seen to be in violation of UN mechanism on Kashmir and the Hurriyat Constitution adopted on 31 July 1993.

If two Kashmiri Pandits take upon to meet Syed Ali Shah Geelani in Delhi, we should allow a margin of accommodation to any other two non-Kashmiri emissaries of Modi if they make a similar genuine effort to meet any other group in Srinagar. We need to keep faith in our abilities and conserve the trust in our leaders and the people. Kashmiri leaders have continued to meet leadership in Delhi and Islamabad or their designated emissaries for the last 24 years. The merits and demerits of these interactions have surfaced over the years. Nothing that violates a fair debate on the principle of equality and self-determination is likely to survive.
It is time that we rave courage to admit that the circle of wisdom has to be completed by all. We need to learn from our experience and mistakes. All that we had been doing as a diplomatic deed has come to nothing. It came to a sudden stop when diplomatic work on Kashmir faced challenge in USA and became discredited. The much hyped (hollow at core) international diplomacy conducted through Kashmir Centres in Washington, Brussels and London could not withstand the test of scrutiny. It collapsed like a pack of cards and the players have eggs on their faces. We need to save other faces from any further egg smear.

May 16 is round the corner and the character of future Indian politics is a prerogative of the common man and woman in India. Be it BJP or Congress, all we need to do is to prepare ourselves through open and transparent debate for a dialogue with Delhi and Islamabad as a start. This dialogue would remain inconclusive if it does not satisfy the title of the people of Kashmir to self-determination, be it internal self-determination or external self-determination or both. If a dialogue between the three people of India, Pakistan and Kashmir succeeded, it has to be reported to the UN Security Council so that the matter is closed at the UN.  The mechanism on Kashmir is so clear that no two Kashmiri Pandits or no two non-Kashmiri emissaries of Modi can hurt the collective cause of the people of Kashmir. Therefore being in league or otherwise would not make a storm in the cup of Kashmir politics.

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