Despite Shah and Khan appealing the clashing groups their provocative sloganeering did not stop. In the meantime Moulana Abbas Ansari fled from the venue terming the scene a ‘little thing’. “Even in assembly and parliament such things happen,” Ansari said while boarding his vehicle.
Shah and Khan also left soon but repeated the demand of an unconditional apology from Prof Bhat.
Earlier on May 8, Mirwaiz Umer had called a meeting of the APHC executive committee in a ttempt to keep the flock together, but the event saw leaders exchange heated words inside and their supporters shout slogans against each other outside.
At the seminar, leading the charge against Mirwaiz Umar was senior separatist leader Shabir Shah himself, who asked the chairman to come clean on Prof Bhat’s statement. After the meeting, the supporters of Shah and Bilal Lone got themselves into a marathon shouting match.
Mirwaiz later reaffirmed the Hurriyat’s official stand at his residence. “The Kashmir issue can be resolved in a just way by implementing the UN resolution”. He asked his colleagues not to publicly express any views against the Hurriyat constitution. “If they have any individual opinion that should be discussed within the Hurriyat and not in front of the people,” Mirwaiz said. While he was talking to reporters Bilal Lone’s supporters, on seeing their leader coming out, shouted slogans in his favour and Shah, who was already seated in his vehicle to leave, abruptly returned and shouted “Hum Nay Chudian Nahein Pahnee Hein (We are no cowards)”.
Earlier in May, a group of APHC(M) general council members had a chance to sit together in a function organized to celebrate the anniversary of Mahaz-e-Azadi, a constituent led by the veteran Azam Inqillabi. Inqillabi denounced Prof Bhat for his remarks on UN resolutions. He said, “UN resolutions guarantee our right to self-determination, they are bypassing the General Council and don’t take the council into confidence. They talk about things that are never discussed in the General Council.”
Pro Abdul Gani Bhat made his controversial remarks at a rally in his native village Batengo in Baramulla. But for his opponents, the UN resolutions have an overarching symbolic value and validity. “What is Kashmir dispute without the UN resolutions?,” asks Hurriyat executive member, Shah.
Pro Bhat has made similar statements in the past as well. He spearheaded a campaign to mobilise support for former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s four point proposal, which envisaged a bilateral resolution of Kashmir without any reference to the UN resolutions.
In the ongoing rift between these leaders, Engineer Rashid, the fire brand MLA representing Langate, added fuel to the fire. He screened a video for the media and revealed that Prof Bhat and Bilal Lone have shared stage with Bilal’s brother Sajad Lone, who in the recent past has joined election politics, an act which is described as ‘anti-movement’ by all the separatist leaders and parties. Rashid claimed that the Langate rally of Hurriat(M) was a result of coordination between Hurriyat (M) and Sajad Lone’s Peoples Conference.
The APHC(M), however, sharply reacted against Rashid’s accusation. Rashid during his press conference identified Panchs, Sarpanchs and ‘Renegades’ in the video who he claimed belonged to Sajad Lone’s party. The APHC(M) did not deny these allegations.
A few people, like Rashid, believe that a section of Mirwaiz led Hurriyat Conference by showing it’s willingness to work along with mainstream parties like National Conference and PDP may be readying to participate in the election process. Pertinently, a very active player on the track-II front from Indian side and former RAW chief AS Dulat recently said, “they (APHC) must have their innings”.
The present rift within the Mirwaiz grouping has it’s roots in 2009 when almost all the General Council Members very strongly demanded restructuring of the amalgam. Shah who very powerfully advocated district level offices for the organisation led them. Mirwaiz bought time then using his constitutional powers and disbanded all the posts within the conglomerate promising immediate restructuring.
Three years have passed since, but the promised restructuring did not happen. Sources said that restructuring is opposed by Prof Bhat and Bilal Lone who are supporting each other’s views in the APHC(M). In June 2009, Shah, known for his pro unification stance was arrested along with his old associate and now chairman of his own group, Jammu Kashmir National Front, Nayeem Khan. Shah has accused that he was arrested in 2008 because he was trying to unite the two factions of APHC . Shah said, “My arrest was only to sabotage my efforts.” Khan even went to the extent of saying that his and Shah’s frequent arrests are a result of the APHC(M)’s internal rifts.