The bitterness within the ‘moderate’ Hurriyat does not seem to ebb as three leaders were suspended by the executive council and Shabir Shah demanded immediate steps towards restructuring of the amalgam. SHAH ABBAS reports.
In most of the crises that Hurriyat Conference confronted with, Shabir Shah was the main interlocutor and firefighter. This time, however, the head of Democratic Freedom Party is himself in the whirlpool of a crisis. He is seeking an unconditional apology from Prof Abdul Gani Bhat for his ‘anti-constitutional’ statement or his outright expulsion from the conglomerate and it seems a tall order.
While his demand has led to the suspension of Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, the same decision of Hurriyat executive had placed under suspension Nayeem Ahmad Khan and Azam Inqillabi, the duo that who supported Shah. Now all the three will have to ‘show cause’ to the Hurriyat executive that Mirwaiz Umer Farooq heads.
Prof Abdul Gani Bhat, the former Hurriyat chairman had termed the UN resolutions on Kashmir as “impractical” that broke lose the hell. It triggered strong opposition that Shabir Shah and Nayeem Khan spearheaded. They have launched a campaign ‘to protect the Hurriyat constitution’.
“I have nothing personal against Professor Sahab but he has violated the Hurriyat constitution so either he must unconditionally apologize publicly or be expelled as I was expelled on meeting (Frank G) Wisner and Moulana Abbas was expelled for meeting New Delhi’s interlocutors,” Shah said.
After a series of showdowns between rivals, Mirwaiz reaffirmed Hurriyat’s official stand more than once. “The Kashmir issue can be resolved in a just way by implementing the UN resolutions,” he was quoted saying. But the cleric is being perceived as being soft on Prof Bhat.
Shah says Hurriyat constituents must honour the constitution. “The fundamentals of our Constitution cannot be amended,” he asserts.
The crisis within apart, the alliance is now facing music from the unionist as well. Independent lawmaker engineer Rashid’s allegation that Hurriyat was preparing ground for participating in the polls seems to have charged the situation within the amalgam. “I am going to ask Mirwaiz about the revelations made by the engineer about Hurriyat’s Langate rally which was addressed by him telephonically,” Shah said. “Hurriyat is not in election politics and to be direct or indirect part of any election process under the Indian Constitution is out of question, no matter if we have to wait for 200 years”.
Will these accusations and problems lead to another split in Hurriyat that Shah will spearhead? Shah rebuts such inferences saying, “We want to make it clear that we are not for split in Hurriyat, I am an advocate of unification between all pro-freedom parties. Yes, I stand for the restructuring of Hurriyat and defence of its Constitution”.
=Restructuring Hurriyat has remained a thorny issue for a long time. Most of its constituents stand for it. “Nobody is opposing Hurriyat’s restructuring in the meetings but when it implementing the ideas some invisible hands create hurdles and then it does not move forward,” says Shah, “There are invisible hands which are not allowing restructuring”.
Shah claims he returned to Hurriyat (M) six years ago only after being assured that it will be reorganized. “I am opposed to the Hurriyat’s present two-tier system, I demand desolation of executive council so as to give every constituent a chance to be a part of the Majlis-e-Mushawrat (advisory body). I also want a vice chairman and a general secretary for Hurriyat Conference.”
Post-Wiser issue, when Shah returned in 2006, he says, he suggested institutionalizing the alliance so that the gulf between Hurriyat and the people can be minimized. “I rejoined with a dream to make it a powerful party so I appealed all its constituents to suspend their party identities,” Shah said. “Mirwaiz accepted my suggestion and promised to institutionalise it but a lot of time elapsed.”