Pick & Choose

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The problem with the public is that, it has a short memory, while the problem with the media is that, it never forgets. And so, Wikileaks is back to haunt Kashmir with the media once again bringing up the 2011 leaked US diplomatic cable containing the purported view of the Hurriyat (M) that, “While they were concerned that Afzal  did not have adequate representation during parts of his trial, privately they say that he should be executed if he is guilty.”

When this cable first surfaced in March 2011, it created ripples in Kashmir and Hurriyat (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq hurriedly called for a meeting of its executive members at conglomerate’s headquarters. After deliberations, the Hurriyat (M) spokesman issued a statement that, “The executive felt that the reports quoted in the backdrop of Wikileaks expose are totally against the policy of Hurriyat and a conspiracy against the freedom movement”. So, the matter was quickly laid to rest with the people convinced that it was indeed a ‘conspiracy’ and no one gave it a second thought, as Afzal Guru was then alive. But, now that he has been executed, the Hurriyat (M) needs to answer some tough questions.

The first issue concerns this very statement made by Hurriyat (M) to debunk the authenticity of the leaked US cable. All the Hurriyat (M) spokesman stated on Afzal Guru was that, “It was pointed out that during talks with Government of India, the amalgam has vigorously raised the detention of Afzal Guru and other political detainees languishing in different Indian jails. Such issues were also raised in every international forums.” Now, if we carefully read this statement, all the Hurriyat (M), as per its own admission, has done regarding Afzal Guru was that it had “vigorously raised the detention” issue of Afzal Guru, as it had done for many others. There is no mention that this faction of the Hurriyat had ever raised objections to his faulty trial and contemplated execution with New Delhi or in any international forum.  So, the Hurriyat (M) cleverly sought to bury this allegation under the ever- handy ‘conspiracy theory’. And since Afzal Guru was alive then, no one really cared!

The second issue emerges from the first. If the Hurriyat (M) claims that, this leaked cable was “aimed at achieving petty interests”  and “miles away from reality,” then it per- se rejects the authenticity of the Wikileaks. It needs to be remembered that the Americans have put their full might and used every trick in the book to discredit Wikileaks, but have failed to convince the world that the leaked cables are fabricated. So, in case the Mirwaiz doubted its authenticity, why did he give Wikileaks a carte blanche of approval in December 2010, when he quoted a cable revealing widespread torture by security forces in Kashmir? At that time, he had not only used this cable as an indisputable proof that “torture is being endorsed as a state policy here,” but also castigated Washington for the “doublespeak of the US government which knew about the torture and preferred to remain silent”. But then, when a cable revealing damaging material against the Hurriyat (M) subsequently emerged, he outrightly questioned its authenticity? Surely, something seems to be amiss. How does the Mirwaiz explain his ambivalent and dithering stance on Wikileaks?  

The fact of the matter is that it is not only the Mirwaiz, but also all the others who mattered, did little to save Afzal Guru. So, while today they may make emotional speeches, call for hartals and display their anguish citing major infirmities in the legal proceedings against Afzal Guru, where were they when the trail was in progress? I’m afraid that the ‘grand conspiracy’ theory is being stretched a bit too far. And if the execution of Afzal Guru was indeed a ‘pre-meditated conspiracy’ hatched by New Delhi against the people of Kashmir, then logically speaking, many of our exalted leaders, by their stoic silence abetted the same and are thus guilty of being ‘co-conspirators’!

Author can be reached at: [email protected]

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