The Hurriyat is again making an attempt towards reunification. The development is a negative fallout of the misconceived political posture adopted by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed after assuming office of Chief Minister, Jammu and Kashmir. His attempts to reach out to the separatist elements in the state have been inferred as a sign of weakness and an attempt is being made to exploit the same.
The rejuvenation being witnessed in the various Hurriyat factions is aimed as resurrecting the flow of funds from foreign inimical sources. Pakistan has, since long, laid down unification as a precondition for continued financial assistance to the conglomerate of self serving individuals. Funds are fast drying up due to non-performance and a check on the flow of illegal money by the Indian authorities.
There is a second aspect to this reunification drive also. The direction that the debate on Article 370 is taking has rattled the separatists to the extent that they are now feeling the necessity to close ranks to meet the challenge. Earlier debates on the issue would witness a huge salvo of political rhetoric by the media savvy Kashmir based political leadership of the state that would overwhelm voices coming out from the Jammu and the Ladakh region. Now, the voice from the Jammu region advocating debate and discussion has become determined and steadfast.
It seems that the seriousness of the situation has hit Hurriyat and led to the activation of this reunification activity
In the latest development, the Geelani faction has attracted a large number of so-called leaders who were earlier with the Mirwaiz faction. The exodus has taken place in the wake of the pro-Pakistan rally organised by Masarat Alam, ostensibly to welcome Syed Geelani on his return from New Delhi where he normally undergoes medical treatment paid for by the Indian government. Masarat Alam, on his part, is playing out a larger game plan. He carried out this welcome drama to position himself as the successor of Geelani.
The fringe elements of the Hurriyat saw in Masarat the potential of resurrecting their falling fortunes; they dumped Mirwaiz and made a beeline for the Geelani faction.
Masarat Alam, however, has overplayed his hand by moving too fast, too soon. He thought that he would not be touched by the state government. By so doing, he totally misread the resilience of the Indian nation towards ensuring the safety of its people and its territorial integrity. He is now back in jail where he belongs and will doubtless stay there of a long time, unless Mufti takes it upon himself to attempt political suicide once more by giving leverage to the secessionist elements.
The loose cannons of the Hurriyat are now in the limbo; they have left Mirwaiz but now see no future in the Geelani faction. Nevertheless, the feeble attempts towards reunification catalysed by Masarat Alam are still on even though they have lost their lustre.
The separatists were seen together on stage recently. With Masarat Alam back in jail, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has moved quickly to wrest back the centre stage. He is the one who did all the talking in the joint rally. The BJP and other pro-Indian parties are trying to weaken the movement he said; there is an attempt to rob Kashmir of its identity he added.
At least the Mirwaiz has admitted that there are certain parties in Kashmir who are pro-Indian, if there are parties then there would also be party workers and party followers. This, in turn, implies that there are many in Kashmir who are pro-Indian and that the Hurriyat does not have the overwhelming support that it bends backwards to claim.
When it comes to the identity issue, it would be best to go back in time to decide as to who robbed Kashmir of its identity, how and for what purpose. It was the Hurriyat and its foreign friends who, about three decades back, robbed Kashmir of its identity by engineering the exodus of the Kashmir Pundits from their home and hearth. In fact, it is the government of India with ample support of the people of the country who are trying their best to get the refugee community of the Kashmiri Pundits back in the valley to resurrect the concept of Kashmiriyat. Maximum effort towards nurturing Kashmir identity and Kashmiriyat has been made over many years by none other than the Indian Army in Kashmir.
One cannot but admire the gumption of Mirwaiz when he talks of Kashmir identity with such a straight face. United or split the Hurriyat does not have anything new to say and tends to parrot such ludicrous statements whenever an opportunity presents itself.
Even a child can understand the motive behind the actions being taken by the separatist parties in Kashmir. This split-reunification-split drama of the Hurriyat has been on for many decades now and not much needs to be read into the same. There is a sizeable chunk of the so-called leadership whose job is to keep assessing which side the funds would flow in the coming times and get onto the bandwagon well in time to reap the bounty. In this instance they placed their bets on Geelani faction (Masarat Alam). These anxious attempts to expand base and create confusion are also an offshoot of a constant worry about the political relevance of the separatist movement in Jammu and Kashmir.
Who is with whom does not make much difference when none can do anything much in any case. The fringe elements of the Hurriyat are simply clutching at claws to save themselves for drowning. The separatists are bound to intensify efforts to disrupt the turning tide of politics in Jammu and Kashmir. It is now up to the people of the State to look through their machinations and stand for what is reasonable and acceptable to all. In the end moral uprightness must prevail.