Bury your differences

May 21 marks a sad day in the bloody history of Kashmir. On this day in 1990, Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq was killed in his Nigeen House in Srinagar. On the same day in 2002, Abdul Ghani Lone, leader of the Hurriyat Conference was also assassinated in Eid Gah Srinagar whilecommemorating the twelfth death anniversary of Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq. Much water has flowed down the Jhelum since the death of these two leaders, but Kashmir still finds itself in a dire situation.

Mirwaiz was assassinated just when militancy had started in Kashmir in 1990. It was a time of great turmoil for Kashmir and Kashmir was under President’s Rule. Twelve years later, when Mr Lone was killed, while paying tributes to the Mirwaiz on his death anniversary, the worst days of militancy in Kashmir were over, but violence was still there. Like all political killings in Kashmir, the assassination of these two prominent leaders also saw their share of allegations and counter allegations.  Mr Lone who was an important leader of the separatist Hurriyat Conference had made assertions that violence and militancy had no justification any longer in Kashmir. Infact a just a few hours before his death, in an interview, he candidly told India Today magazine,’’ “It’s time the foreign militants left us alone and the forces of dialogue take over,”. He clearly understood that no country in the world would support extremism and violence in the post 9/11 world. In the same interview he also told that foreign militants should leave the valley since, according to him, the freedom struggle in Kashmir was indigenous and the Kashmiris should be in the driver’s seat. He was very clear in his thoughts that dialogue was the only way forward.

The separatist movement in Kashmir has gone under a metamorphosis in the last two decades. The All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) was formed in 1993 to act as a political force to represent the pro freedom aspirations and sentiments of Kashmiris. It was an amalgamation of 26 political, social and religious organizations in Kashmir. But with the passage of time, it failed to remain a cohesive unit despite the efforts of many of its leaders to bring about unity among various leaders and factions.

After the 2002 Assembly elections, Hurriyat Conference formally split when some of its constituents allegedly participated in these elections, by proxy. The party split into two –one faction Hurriyat (M) led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and the other faction Hurriyat (G)  led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Though both these factions claim that they are working for getting Kashmir the right of self determination, but often it seems they are working at cross purposes. The legitimacy of both factions has eroded among the common public who don’t see any positive agenda being displayed by them. Kashmir has long suffered violence which has not only resulted in the deaths of thousands of people, but has also left the lives of common Kashmiris shattered.

It pains common Kashmiris who have been at the receiving end of the cycle of violence in Kashmir, when these two factions of the Hurriyat Conference openly level allegations against each other and wash their dirty laundry in public. Kashmiri people have every right to question the conduct of these parties which claim to represent their aspirations. On the death anniversary of Mirwaiz Maulvi Farooq and Abdul Ghani Lone, it becomes more important for these two factions to seriously bury their differences and chart out a common road map for Kashmir. History will not be kind to the leaders of these two factions, if they can’t bury their hatchet and work for a common cause, even after such humongous sacrifices by Kashmiris 

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