What Next? Hurriyat Chalking Out ‘Concrete’ Plan As Protests Linger

Srinagar: At least 55 persons are dead, thousands are injured with dozens maimed for life in the span of 19 days (July 9-27). Trade bodies estimate financial losses suffered to the tune of 2280 crore rupees (120 Crore rupees per day) in the Kashmir Valley alone. So the pertinent question every Kashmiri is asking is, What Next?

With government solely relying on its security apparatus to bring back calm, resistance camp on the other hand is struggling with old tactics to direct the street rage.

Both are vying for control of the streets apparently without any concrete strategy and both, it appears are waiting for the current unrest to lose steam. 

On Tuesday hundreds of masked men appeared on the roads of Srinagar and enforced their writ defying both state and the Hurriyat. Hurriyat had given a relaxation in its protest strike post noon and had asked traders to open markets for people to shop for essentials. But mobs holding lathis and diverse flags (Taliban to ISIS to Pakistan), enforced their own curfew. 

When Kashmir Observer asked this question to Hurriyat (M) Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, he said that ‘certain forces, inimical to the freedom movement’, don’t want to impart it a proper direction. “We don’t know who’s acting on the road right now,” he said. “The unprecedented use of government force resulting in the loss of precious human lives of such colossal nature and injuries to thousands of young boys has fuelled the anger among the younger generation.”

“We’re not able to take stock of the situation as all the means of communication have been disrupted by the government and we are not allowed to meet people,” he said.

“Our stand is clear: we’ve told the youth to protest peacefully without raising undesired slogans or flags aimed at maligning our freedom struggle, Mirwaiz said. He also said that joint resistance camp will issue a strong statement over this shortly.

Asked whether Hurriyat has run out of ideas as it was employing same old methods like Hartal repeatedly, Mirwaiz said the government has chocked their all channels of communication with public. “We’ve a clear vision what to do next but we’re being arrested on one pretext or the other,” he said. “The government has tried every tool to misrepresent the Kashmir struggle everywhere. They know a strong Hurriyat is big hurdle to them and naturally they would give an impression that Hurriyat is a divided house or doesn’t have anything up its sleeve to offer.”

Echoing Mirwaiz, separatist leader, Nayeem Khan, who is said to have played a key role in 2008 uprising, said that India is a mighty force that wouldn’t hesitate to play ‘big tricks’ to malign the Kashmir struggle. “Those raising ISIS flags, attacking ambulances and journalists, and destroying public property are their own agents,” Khan claimed while cautioning youth not to fall prey to ‘their designs’. “Delhi is adept in creating confusions and it wants to give an impression that Kashmir movement is run by illiterates and unintelligent people.”

Khan said it’ll take some time to cool the tempers that are running high among the youth at present and Hurriyat will regain control over the situation. 

Many however argue that the current turmoil is the replica of 2008 and 2010 that would ultimately fizzle out. “Uprising 2016 is a copy-paste of 2010 that would yield nothing unless the recipe is different from the perspective of a common man, Hurriyat and even the mainstream political leadership,” believes Jehangir Raina, a businessman who has a keen eye on developments.

Noted political observer Riyaz Masroor, however strongly disagrees arguing the current uprising has a broader canvas. “While 2008 uprising was against the Amarnath land transfer, 2010 was largely for removal of AFSPA,  Riyaz, who works for BBC said, adding 2016 is being fought straight along the lines of ‘achieving freedom’ from India. This he said was like “chewing more than what one could swallow”. “It has come as a shock not only to Hurriyat but Pakistan as well that an uprising of such scale erupted all of a sudden,”said Riyaz.

He said Hurriyat is currently riding the popular wave and is in a kind of nonplus state what to do next. “Hurriyat seems to be clueless at the intensity of the protests on the ground right now.”

Discarding the notion that Hurriyat has lost its relevance, Riyaz said that even the militant organizations such as LeT have asked people to follow the Hurriyat programs. “Indian media has relentlessly tried hard to see Hurriyat off the scene and they would naturally launch a campaign to discredit them.”

Asked how long the protests would last, he said even the government of Indian knows it well the protests wouldn’t die any time soon.  

“We’re up for more trouble as the protests would not die anytime soon, at least, up to the Durbar Move when offices would shifted to Jammu ,” he said. “

When KO contacted Hurriyat ideologue, Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat to have a more clearer picture, he declined to comment, saying his ‘peer’ (spiritual guide) has forbidden him to open his mouth right now.

Prof Bhat said leaders like Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq are at present, holding the reins and they must come to the fore.

Meanwhile, Mirwaiz said the conglomerate would chalk out the future strategy and soon issue a concrete program.

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