Confusion In Kashmir Separatist Camp!
7 September 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Dr. Jitendra Singh
Jammu: Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's visit last week to Srinagar provided yet another proof - if at all a proof was required - of the utter state of confusion compounded by contradiction prevailing among the Valley's socalled separatist outfits including the separatist conglomerate Hurriyat Conference. While on the one hand the Hurriyat Chairman Moulvi Abbas Ansari said that 'we are hopeful' of having talks with the Prime Minister, on the other hand the Hurriyat conglomerate gave an unsuccessful call for general strike in Kashmir on the day of visit of Vajpayee to attend Inter- State Council meeting in Srinagar. Ironically, though lately some of the Hurriyat leaders including Ansari appear to be keenly waiting for an invitation from Vajpayee for dialogue with them, New Delhi is yet to initiate any such move. What is the actual present stand of various separatist outfits comprising the Hurriyat? Nobdoy knows. Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the former Hurriyat Chairman, has been threatening to launch his own political outfit but is yet to make any concrete move in that direction. Sajjad Lone, leader of one of the important Hurriyat constituents, has time and again spoken against the Hurriyat itself and has lately also sent signals showing his inclination to openly enter mainstream politics. Different separatist leaders raising different voices indicates new set of priorities being adopted by each of these leaders in order to enhance their individual prospects in a fast changing political scene. Ali Shah Geelani feels isolated as Hurriyat Conference assumes reconcilatory postures and therefore he seeks alternative means to sustain his declining relevance. Sajjad Lone regrets in heart of hearts that he missed the bus which was finally boarded by Mufti Sayeed and daughter Mehbooba. Shabeer Shah too secretly regrets over not having devised a method for his entry into the poll fray during October 2002 election. And Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, with the advantage of his young age, paternal credibility and a traditional constituency, could think of himself being better suited for the slot for which Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and Sajjad Lone mutually vie with each other. As the local Kashmiri populace increasingly yearns for normalcy, peace and prosperty, as US banishes the Taliban in Afghanistan and the Saddam hegemony in Iraq thus signalling its determined crusade against Islamic terrorism and as the Kashmiri politician realises the futility of pursuing a secessionist agenda sponsored by an unstable foreign regime, the Valley witnesses a visible political trend in favour of mainstream race for power in State hierarchy. 'Separatism' may continue to remain a slogan for political blackmail used even by self-proclaimed nationalist parties like National Conference but 'separatism' ceases to be a political conviction. The Kashmir politician is gradually learning to flow with the tide and with the basic aspirations of common man because more than ever before the Kashmir politician today realises the importance of being on the right side of Umapathy, a La, 'Tumhari Zubaan Meri Zubaan, Tumhara Khayaal Mera Bayaan-'