DI­VI­SION BELL

The re­mark that UN res­o­lu­tions on Kash­mir have be­come re­dun­dant has widened the gulf among the sep­a­ratists, writes RIYAZ WANI

Tehelka - - FRONT PAGE - RIYAZ WANI

Ab­dul Gani Bhat’s re­marks on the UN res­o­lu­tion threat­ens to split the Hur­riyat

WHAT PROF Ab­dul Gani Bhat said was noth­ing new, but this time there was an or­gan­ised re­sis­tance to his re­marks from within the Hur­riyat Con­fer­ence. A group of Gen­eral Coun­cil lead­ers promptly held a press con­fer­ence de­nounc­ing Bhat for say­ing that the UN res­o­lu­tions on Kash­mir are not ap­pli­ca­ble. Bhat also called for the Hur­riyat Con­fer­ence to forge a com­mon min­i­mum po­lit­i­cal agenda with the Na­tional Con­fer­ence and the PDP to re­solve the Kash­mir is­sue.

“This is ut­ter vi­o­la­tion of the Hur­riyat con­sti­tu­tion. And whoso­ever vi­o­lates it ceases to be a mem­ber of the con­glom­er­ate. We rep­re­sent this move­ment. We will not al­low any per­son to re­di­rect or mis­di­rect it,” says se­nior Hur­riyat leader Nay­eem Khan. “The move­ment does not be­long to any party or per­son.”

The press con­fer­ence was at­tended by other se­nior lead­ers such as Azam In­quil­abi, Javid Ah­mad Mir, Hi­lal War and Bashir Ah­mad Bhat. “UN res­o­lu­tions guar­an­tee our right to self-de­ter­mi­na­tion,” says In­quil­abi. He says that the ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil of the al­liance was try­ing to mo­nop­o­lise the mod­er­ate Hur­riyat. “They are by­pass­ing the Gen­eral Coun­cil and don’t take the coun­cil into con­fi­dence. They talk about things that are never dis­cussed in the Gen­eral Coun­cil,” he says.

Bhat made his con­tentious re­marks at a rally in his na­tive vil­lage of Batengo in north Kash­mir. His ra­tio­nale was that the geopo­lit­i­cal con­di­tions that forced In­dia to take Kash­mir to the United Na­tions no longer ex­isted, ren­der­ing the res­o­lu­tions unim­ple­mentable. But for his op­po­nents, the UN res­olu- tions have an over­ar­ch­ing sym­bolic value, if not prac­ti­cal va­lid­ity. “What is Kash­mir with­out the UN res­o­lu­tions?” asks Hur­riyat ex­ec­u­tive mem­ber Shabir Shah. He cited the ex­am­ple of UN Sec­re­tary-gen­eral Ban Ki-moon’s call for the Kash­mir res­o­lu­tion dur­ing his visit to In­dia. “If there were no UN res­o­lu­tions, would Ban Ki-moon have talked about Kash­mir?”

How­ever, even by Bhat’s stan­dards, his pro­posal call­ing for a joint po­lit­i­cal front with main­stream par­ties is a rad­i­cal de­par­ture from the Hur­riyat stand. It con­fers le­git­i­macy on the “pro-in­dia char­ac­ter” of these or­gan­i­sa­tions. “These par­ties (main­stream par­ties) side with New Delhi when all that the Kash­miris want is sepa­ra­tion from In­dia. They be­lieve in ac­ces­sion and have al­lowed them­selves to be­come in­stru­ments in the killing of Kash­miris,” says Shah. “How can we ever join them?”

How­ever, he also laid down con­di­tions for the Hur­riyat to join main­stream par­ties. “If the NC and the PDP de­cide to quit elec­toral pol­i­tics, their leg­is­la­tors re­sign from the Assem­bly and they no longer sup­port In­dia’s cause in Kash­mir, we are ready to join them,” he says.

Mean­while, op­po­si­tion to Bhat’s re­marks is not driven by the fight for prin­ci­ples. The dis­si­dent group within the Hur­riyat has long been call­ing for the re­struc­tur­ing of the sep­a­ratist amal­gam, which re­dis­tributes power from the in­flu­en­tial sev­en­mem­ber ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil. At a meet­ing of the Hur­riyat at its Ra­jbagh head­quar­ters on 9 May, hun­dreds of dis­si­dent ac­tivists shouted slo­gans against Bhat. They also sought dis­band­ing of the Hur­riyat ex­ec­u­tive coun­cil.

IN­CI­DEN­TALLY, BHAT has made sim­i­lar state­ments in the past. In fact, in 2007, he spear­headed a cam­paign to mo­bilise sup­port for for­mer Pak­istan Pres­i­dent Pervez Mushar­raf’s four-point pro­posal, which en­vis­aged a bi­lat­eral res­o­lu­tion of Kash­mir with­out any ref­er­ence to the UN res­o­lu­tions.

Bhat him­self has since cham­pi­oned a so­lu­tion that ac­cepts the re­al­ity of Kash­mir as a state in­hab­ited by a het­eroge­nous mass of peo­ple with dif­fer­ent po­lit­i­cal as­pi­ra­tions. “There is a Mus­lim ma­jor­ity in Kash­mir, a Hindu ma­jor­ity in Jammu and Ladakh is equally split be­tween Mus­lims and Bud­dhists. How can you have an ab­so­lute so­lu­tion un­der these cir­cum­stances?” he asked.

Mean­while, Hur­riyat chair­man Mir­waiz Umar Fa­rooq told TEHELKA that Bhat’s views were per­sonal and that it does not re­flect the stand of the Hur­riyat.

PHO­TOS: ( L TO R) SHAILEN­DRA PANDEY, FAISAL KHAN

Hur­riyat lead­ers Mir­waiz Umar Fa­rooq and Ab­dul Gani Bhat

• Trou­bled wa­ters

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