July 2000 News

Mirwaiz visit to Abdullah sparks row in Hurriyat

16 July 2000
The Pioneer

Srinagar: The rift-ridden All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) is plagued with another controversy, threatening a menacing erosion in its public image. Mirwaiz Omer Farooq, former chairman of the amalgam, broke the decade-long mores and went to condole Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, at his Gupkar residence, on his mother, Begum Akbar Jahan''s death on Friday. On the face of it, there seems little scope for finding fault with Mirwaiz''s sympathetic gesture towards the bereaved Chief Minister. But in the context of Kashmir, where social and human relationships have been kept subservient to political convictions, the development is loaded with several doubts and dispute. Even as the Hurriyat Conference is yet to come out with its official reaction, its two constituents, Muslim League and Students'' Islamic League - have condemned Mirwaiz strongly. The two outfits described it as a display of utter hypocrisy to hug and condole a person (Dr Abdullah), ''who is the killer of 70,000 Kashmiris. They have sought an earnest explanation from the former Hurriyat chairman for breaking political custom. Office-bearers of the APHC Raj Bagh headquarters, reveal that they are inundated with phone calls from various quarters of the valley ''abusing and accusing the Hurriyat leadership of betrayal and treason. A street refrain is that if there is a taboo on a common person to visit a pro-India politician, how is it admissible for those who preach this tabooism. Reference, in this regard, is given to dozens of insurances, where persons were gunned down just for shaking their hands with mainstream politicians. APHC has so far maintained a discreet silence over the issue. Privately, they admit that Mirwaiz went against the Hurriyat line. ''We had decided not to visit the Chief Minister, said a senior leader. The Hurriyat leadership finds itself in a precarious position over the issue. They, in the past, threw out Shabir Ahmad Shah for defying the Hurriyat line and holding a meeting with then American ambassador, Frank Wisner.


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