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Geelani, Mirwaiz, others go for headhunting, mudslinging
Kashmir's separatist camps at daggers drawn
5/16/2015 12:37:12 AM
Abdul Majid
Early Times Report
SRINAGAR, May 15: Failing to regain public support lost over the years, Kashmir's separatist leaders are out to wash dirty linen in the public again. This time in the ever-splitting Hurriyat Conference, the arch rivals Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq are at daggers drawn for headhunting in a never before way.
In the past around a week, these and other separatist parties have been spewing venom against each other in Srinagar dailies, most often while joining or leaving these factions. While some are splitting from Hurriyat Conference (M) and some joining the Hurriyat Conference (G) led by Geelani, there's a faction of other rebels who are equally not satisfied with the Hurriyat JK led by Shabir Shah.
While Geelani is grabbing cadres from the rival camp, insiders said Mirwaiz is planning a similar counter move for next week when his party is scheduled to host pro-Pakistan rallies in connection with the death anniversary of his father Molvi Muhammad Farooq killed by unidentified gunmen in 1990.
Amid this chaos, headhunting and mudslinging has scaled new heights. On Thursday May 14, Sheikh Yaqoob, a leader of Hurriyat (M) splinter group said the Mirwaiz-led conglomerate has "failed to represent the aspirations of oppressed Kashmiris."
"Distressed with the way Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat has been working over the past few years. It has sidelined the (Hurriyat) constitution. We have decided to support Hurriyat (Geelani)," said Yaqoob, who is chairman of a faction of Jammu Kashmir People's League.
Yaqoob, brother of separatist leader Sheikh Aziz who was killed in 2008, said many of its constituents had left the Hurriyat (M) because it had "failed the people."
Exactly when Yaqoob was into mudslinging another separatist leader Mushtaq Ul Islam, a former militant commander said most of the separatists were running their parties like "grocery shops to earn a living."
Mushtaq's scathing attack on the unnamed separatist leaders came at a time when the Hurriyat Conference JK, which he had joined last year, is disintegrating. Shabir Ahmad Shah broke away from Hurriyat Conference (M) and formed Hurriyat Conference JK over the issue of restructuring of the conglomerate.
Last week, eight separatist organizations "formally joined" the Hurriyat Conference headed by Syed Ali Shah Geelani as its constituents. In a statement the spokesman of Hurriyat Conference (G) Ayaz Akbar said the parties which joined amalgam include Jammu Kashmir Peoples Movement(JKPM), Jammu, Kashmir Freedom Front (JKFF), Tehreek-e-Mazahamat (TeM) Jammu Kashmir, Islamic Political Party (IPP), Gujjar-Pahari Forum (GPF), Muslim Khawateen Markaz (MKM), Pairvan-e-Villayat (PeV) Jammu Kashmir and Hakeem Abdul Rasheed.
While for now the separatists are in news for disintegration, earlier this year they managed spotlight by pledging to forge unity in the divided factions. On January 5 various separatist leaders pitched for unity among separatists, saying it is "imperative to carry forward the ongoing movement for right to self determination." But after being in news for this, they looked for something different again.
The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), a conglomerate of separatist parties and leaders, was formed on March 9, 1993 as a "political front for right to self-determination".
Internal fissures within the conglomerate had culminated in a formal split on September 7, 2003, with 12 of its 26 constituents removing the then chairman Maulana Muhammad Abbas Ansari and replacing him with Masarat Alam as its interim chief. Later, Geelani formed the Hurriyat Conference (G) and his own party, the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.
Since then colorful stories of unification or division have been doing the rounds while political analysts look ahead for another high voltage drama next week when Mirwaiz is slated to rally in connection with the death anniversary of his father killed on May 21, 1990.
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