Shabir Shah and Nayeem Khan trying to pacify their supporters Photo:Bilal Bahadur

[stextbox id=”info”]Already playing tension within the Mirwaiz led Hurriyat Conference spilled out in the open recently with Prof Bhat’s rubbishing UN resolutions on Kashmir. Developments since have revealed extreme acrimony within the conglomerate leading to speculation that it might split again with some desirous of proxy participation in the election process. SHAH ABBAS  analyses.[/stextbox]

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The political forum, All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) that wants an end of Indian rule over Jammu & Kashmir is on its way to yet another split, second after its formation in 1993. The conglomerate of several pro-freedom parties first split on the ‘principal of cleansing’ when the ageing and the most powerful separatist voice, Syed Ali Geelani walked out with his own faction in 2002. Now the faction led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq is at the verge of a division.

Interestingly, the reason for the first split in the united APHC was, as Geelani had described it, ‘to protect the Hurriyat constitution’. The so-called moderate faction of the APHC is now divided again in the name of ‘protecting’ the same constitution. One of its senior leaders, Azam Inqilabi has used the same term ‘cleansing’ in one of his statements as was used by Geelani at the time of the first split in 2002.

The Mirwaiz led APHC’s three frontline leaders are accusing Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, one of the executive leaders, of violating the constitution because he said the UNSC Kashmir resolutions are ‘impracticable. Prof Bhat also suggested working with ‘mainstream’ political parties like the PDP and the NC for reaching any result in the resolution process. This statement by Prof Bhat has shattered the whole conglomerate to the extent that senior leaders, Shabir Shah and Nayeem Khan’s supporters clashed with Bilal Gani Lone and chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq’s supporters demanding an explanation from ‘the violators of the constitution’, though what Prof Bhat said was nothing new from him.

Prof Bhat’s remark that ‘the UN resolutions on Kashmir could not be practically implemented’ has opened wide cracks within the separatist conglomerate, with opposing factions coming to blows at its headquarters on May 20 during a seminar organized to commemorate late Mirwaiz Mohammad Farooq and Abdul Gani Lone, the slain fathers of Mirwaiz Umer and Bilal Lone respectively.

At the very beginning of the seminar, the rift within the Mirwaiz led APHC leaders was evident when Shabir Shah, Nayeem Khan and Zafar Akbar Bhat refused to take chairs meant for them and Abbas Ansari had to pose for press photographers all alone in the long row of the special chairs. Mirwaiz Umer was put under house arrest, while Prof Bhat could not attend as his grandson had passed away recently. Bilal Lone too was also put under house arrest and Aga Hassan was traveling abroad.

“This is utter violation of the Hurriyat constitution. And whosoever has done it ceases to be a member of the conglomerate. We represent this movement. We will not allow any person to redirect or misdirect it,” said Nayeem Khan at the very beginning of his fiery speech while his senior partner Shabir Shah kept nodding affirmatively. “The movement does not belong to any party or person.”

Khan didn’t spare even the chairman of the grouping. “We have every right to ask Mirwaiz Umer Farooq that why he remained silent when Abdul Gani Bhat violated the Hurriyat constitution, it is the same Mirwaiz who advocates Kashmiris’ right to self-determination under UN resolutions in the ouside world but he has to answer that why he did not react to Abdul Gani Bhat’s statement at the very dice in Botengo Baramulla,” an angry Khan said.

These remarks questioning the Mirwaiz caused a commotion in the jam-packed hall at the APHC(M) Rajbagh headquarters. The supporters of Mirwaiz disrupted Khan’s the speech and tried to attack him, but the supporters of Khan and Shabir Shah together prevented them. Both the groups destroyed the seating arrangement by throwing the plastic chairs at each another and later, amid loud sloganeering, went out in the open abusing, pushing and showing fists to each other. The bizarre show of acrimony went on for quite a while.

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