Leaders raise slogans of Azadi after getting money from IB, MHA: Omar
30 June 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu: National Conference President and the former Minister of State for External Affairs, Omar Abdullah, today lashed out at the 'hyprocritical tactics' of Kashmir's separatist leaders. He claimed that, while raising hollow slogans for Azadi in Kashmir, these leaders had been regularly receiving money from Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi. Speaking at the first ever interaction between the Valley's mainstream and separatist leaders, Omar Abdullah asserted that politicians had developed vested interests in the 13-year-long disturbance and bloodshed in Jammu & Kashmir. He agreed that in 1990, 'an original freedom struggle' had begun in Kashmir but, over the years, it was taken over by a leadership which was neither honest to a cause nor concerned over the plight of the people. Omar said that Kashmir's separatist leaders had been hoodwinking the people with their doublespeak and hypocritical tactics. He claimed that these leaders had been raising the hollow slogans of Azadi after getting money from IB and MHA at New Delhi's North Block. 'After receiving money in North Block, these leaders return to the Valley and shout Hamain kya chahiye, Azadi. During the recent Assembly elections too, yet another group of leaders told their audiences that Azadi from NC was a must before getting the real Azadi. Even the Chief Minister (Mufti Sayeed) went to Handwara to address a rally which shouted pro-Azadi slogans. Who of us is not guilty of doublespeak and hypocrisy?' Omar asked a mixed audience of about 100 politicians, lawyers, journalists and NGOs. He pointed out that the same people, who were themselves divided in groups and factions of different ideologies, were calling for solution to Kashmir problem and expecting the world to listen to them. 'See every party and organisation is divided. JKLF has Yaseen Malik and Amanullah Khan factions. Somebody is calling for freedom, another leader is demanding accession to Pakistan. And, there are leaders who do not specify their goals They simply assert that they should be invited (for talks) like the Naga leaders', Omar said. He said that nobody in the world would listen to the separatist leaders as long as they were a divided and confused lot. Omar picked up the noted lawyer and Azadi activist Zaffar Shah's sentence-that a new leadership was emerging in the State-and argued that it was all a wishful thinking. 'I wish the President of the Bar Association had given here the names of the new leaders, who, according to him, were surfacing in this State', he added. According to Omar, the mainstream leadership was no less dishonest. He referred to Atal Behari Vajpayee's recent statements and pointed out that even the Prime Minister of India had described the September 2002 Assembly elections 'as the only free and fair elections in Jammu & Kashmir'. 'Earlier, I thought the Constituent Assembly had come to existence through a fair process and ratified the state's accession to India. My belief was that the Kashmir problem had been genuinely solved 50 years ago. Now the PM's statement has put a question mark on it', Omar said. Omar contended that Kashmir was central to the dispute between India and Pakistan. He said that Congress Working Committee had recorded in a 1942 resolution that no territory's people would be forced to remain with the sovereign India. 'It's the only logic that only the solution acceptable to the majority of the people in Jammu & Kashmir would be the real solution to the problem. Bilateralism has not solved the problem in five decades', Omar said. He asserted that Washington had already been involved by both, New Delhi and Islamabad, as the negotiator. Omar said that his party, National Conference, believed firmly that no leadership in India would leave an inch of the country's soil. 'New Delhi has no love lost for Kashmir. It has been selling out and compromising its stands. It sold out 50-year-long diplomacy (on Palestine) to America. It sold out Tibet to China. But, it can never leave Kashmir as it will create a storm in this country and the subcontinent which has 50 Crore Muslims', Omar argued. Even as the ruling PDP chief, Mehbooba Mufti, and the senior Hurriyat leader, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, did not turn up at the venue inspite of their confirmation to participation, a number of separatist leaders and intellectuals expressed their views. Senior advocate Zaffar Shah argued that Mufti Sayeed's Government was not a real representative dispensation. 'It's not a representative government because it does not represent us. Our struggle for freedom has origin in aspirations of the state's people, not those of leaders', he said. Zaffar Shah said that even the mainstream politicians were not sincere to the oath they were taking in Assembly or elsewhere. 'In Assembly they take oath of India's sovereignty. Outside, they talk of human rights and Kashmir dispute', he said. He alleged that Kashmir's traditional leaders were speaking one language in Srinagar and a different one in New Delhi. I'm sure if we get a chance to visit Islamabad, we'll speak a third language', he added and stressed on the need to remove the dilemma of inherent contradictions. He said that the people of Jammu & Kashmir would have to play the basic role in resolving the 50- year-long political crisis. CPI (M) leader, Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami, whose Peoples Democratic Forum (PDF) has 5 Ministers and 6 MLAs in the ruling alliance, described it as unfortunate that both, India and Pakistan, had been trying to impose their own solutions on J&K. He argued that the people of Kashmir were 'neither disputed nor a bone of contention between India and Pakistan'. 'A common ground has to emerge for working on certain solutions. We have to be the masters of our choice', Tarigami said. Speaking on behalf of Shabir Shah's Democratic Freedom Party, separatist leader Mohammad Abdullah Tari observed that the Mufti Government had failed to keep its word of applying healing touch to the wounded people of Kashmir. He claimed that killings and atrocities of forces on civilians had increased since Mufti had become the Chief Minister late last year. Tari, however, welcomed Omar Abdullah's and the NC general secretary's 'pro- people statements'. He said it was 'highly encouraging' that the NC leaders were 'coming to the real track'. Dr Haider Hijazi of JKLF (Amanullah group) said that mercenaries had never played a positive role in resolution of political crises anywhere in the world. He demanded both countries, India and Pakistan, should forfeit their claims on Jammu & Kashmir and turn the State into a bridge of friendship between them. Another separatist activist, Hashim Qureshi, lamented that Islamabad and New Delhi had never taken into confidence the real party to the dispute-the people of J&K-whether it was Simla Agreement, Tashkent Pact or Lahore Declaration. According to him, the turmoil in J&K was not a religion-based issue but a political struggle irrespective of caste, creed and colour. 'India and Pakistan should stop the refrain of integral part and jugular vein', he emphasised. Celebrated educationist and a close friend of JKLF chairman Yasin Malik, Dr Aga Ashraf Ali, and the Proprietor of SSM Women's Polytechnic and College, Dil Afroz, also spoke on the occasion. Jamaat-e-Islami leader, Qazi Ahadullah, had also turned up but he left the spot before Omar Abdullah's arrival. In the middle of the proceedings, some advocates shouted a couple of pro-Azadi slogans. The programme, first of its kind in Jammu & Kashmir since 1990, had been organised by Kolkata-based 'Centre for Peace and Progress'.