Now, It’s Militants Vs Hurriyat

18 September 2008

Srinagar: The separatist All-Party Hurriyat Conference’s ‘sustained agitation’ balloon has been punctured, not by the government but by militants. Little-known militant outfits Save Kashmir Movement (SKM) and al-Nasreen (AN) have lashed out at Hurriyat factions led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, besides the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, for frequent strikes and provoking people to stage protests. “Hurriyat is provoking people for vested interests. Even the Kashmir coordination committee is proving to be a catalyst for divisive politics. If they are serious about the Kashmir issue, they should join militant ranks,” Abu Zahid, a spokesman for the outfits, told a local news agency. Zahid urged people not to heed the hartal and protest calls of the committee. “They should stop exploiting the people. People should also reject their programmes until they clear their position,” he said. The stand taken by these outfits is in sharp contrast to the decision by the United Jihad Council (UJC), an umbrella group of militant outfits based in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, which has asked its cadres in Kashmir to stop violence in densely-populated areas and join protest rallies without displaying arms. UJC chief Syed Salahuddin said, “Directions have been issued to cadres operating in Kashmir not to carry out attacks in populated areas. However, militants should continue operations in areas close to the line of control.” The statement issued by SKM and IN has created a tricky situation for the coordination committee and Hurriyat. Shahid-ul-Islam, a spokesman for the moderate Hurriyat faction, quickly rubbished it saying they only recognised UJC. “We do not take statements from others (apart from UGC) seriously because there are many agencies at work. People are mature enough to understand the designs of agencies at this crucial juncture,” Shahid said. The Hurriyat-led coordination committee has been spearheading the secession campaign in Kashmir. Thousands have joined its marches across Kashmir, prompting the authorities to clamp curfews on a number of occasions.