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Geelani disassociates from Hurriyat: Story of ideological crisis

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By K.N. Pandita

For quite some time Geelani was mute, maybe owing to advancing age problem like dementia. In a letter, scripted three months ago but released now to the heads of the eight units of his organization (Hurriyat – G), he made threadbare confession of his dissatisfaction with the units of his organization in both parts of the State.

A diehard Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) standard-bearer, who trained some enthusiastic young Kashmiris in Jamaat ideology, like late Ayub Thukar and Ghulam Nabi Fai (respectively London and the US-based JI (Kashmir) activists, Geelani has always been an blunt pro-Pakistani leader of old school. He fought and won three assembly elections in J&K and lost two parliamentary elections from Baramulla constituency. In all these elections he had taken the customary oath of allegiance to the constitution of the Indian Union against which he waged a life-long unsuccessful war but succeeded in alienating Kashmiri Muslim youth from India. How far the ISI has been patronizing him is a moot point. ISI had not missed the piece of bizarre information that Indian agencies were instrumental in repatriating his son from Pakistan after nearly twelve years of life in self-imposed exile. He is now a doctor in the SKIMS, Srinagar. His second son was handpicked by the State government to be given a plum post.

As long as he could inspire Kashmiri Muslim militant youth to carry forward the armed struggle for secession Pakistani establishment made him the beneficiary of its munificence. But Geelani could be critical of Pakistan also on issues more concerned with the Islamic ideology. For example he castigated General Musharraf for ordering military operation for flushing out the militants from Lal Masjid in Lahore. President General Pervez Musharraf never liked him.

Kashmir watchers have written copiously on the subject why he disassociated with the organization which he created and nurtured laboriously in both parts of Kashmir. Actually, his letter to his lieutenants on both sides of the LoC is self-explanatory. In our opinion it is a candid expression of some realities hitherto kept a closely guarded secret. The substance of the letter could be succinctly put as this (a) it is a revolt of the younger aspirants of the organization on either side of the LoC, against his authoritarian style of handling the organization, and (b) recurring complaints of financial irregularities against some responsible members who have defied Geelani’s call for submitting expenditure reports

Many Kashmir watchers have been skeptical from the very beginning about the validity of his pro-Pak line. Whether the Hurriyat (M), the JKLF, and other militant groups were or were not pro-Pak in ultimate analysis is a different matter but they cleverly adopted an ambivalent stance of sticking to the slogan of azaadi.

Geelani never condemned Kashmiris taking up the gun and fighting the Indian security forces. He never condemned violence and never showed any enthusiasm about India-Pakistan talks on Kashmir issue. When the ISI dumped JKLF for toying excessively with the azaadi slogan and patronized Hizbul Mujahideen whose ideology of accession to Pakistan was precisely what Geelani stood for. Therefore people began to believe that the HuM was indulging in the butchering spree of JKLF activists on the behest of Geelani, which indeed was not the case. The HuM strictly carried forward the agenda set forth for it by the ISI. Nevertheless, since the impression had become widespread among the people in the valley, it followed that Geelani began to be feared more than respected. The fear came from the fact that he could order elimination of his opponents at will, which was possible because he had been granted an unstated acquiescence by the political apparatus in the valley, including CM’s and JK Police chiefs. That is why he reigned supreme. Undoubtedly, Reorganization Act of the Parliament and transformation of J&K into the Union Territory took away his political and police leverage. The fear component lost its punch. He waited for nearly nine months expecting a forceful backlash and restoration of the element of fear aura. That did not happen and he categorically laments in his letter to his lieutenants that there was no concerted reaction from the general masses to the scrapping of Article 370/35-A and dismemberment of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

To add to his dejection and defeat of his flawed Islamic ideology, he found to his surprise that the security forces had begun a wipe out campaign of the armed gangsters and South Kashmir was almost on the verge of being cleansed of all malevolent elements.

In analyzing his complaint about financial irregularities, the point is why did he raise the question of submission of account from the concerned in his outfit? For last thirty-two years he never asked for it. The truth is that the benevolence came from all the cash coming to him through hawala transfers. Its key handlers were Altaf Bukhari and Zahoor Shah Watali, both well-connected in Delhi, and hence untouchable. In a news report appearing in sections of press in 2017, it was revealed that the NSA had succeeded in hacking the mobile phone calls of a Pakistani ISI sleuth Lt. Col Tanveer to Ali Shah Geelani. It was found that this Pakistani conduit had been the key person arranging hawala transactions for both Geelani and Molavi Umar the Hurriyat (M) chief. Lt. Col Tanveer had been in contact with them for five years.

That was until Modi came to power in 2014. Things changed. One of the two hawala contacts turned into an approver against the other and was given the nod to create a pro-India party. The other is languishing in jail. Once the money pipeline dried up, Pakistan started pushing Afghan narcotics into Kashmir much like what they had done in Punjab. The job of creating the narcotic trade pipeline was given by ISI to the valley based leaders languishing in Muzaffarabad who had to accept the responsibility that monies from narcotic trade would flow to Geelani for continuing his benevolent activities.

Geelani did not approve narcotic funding for the Hurriyatis and wanted Molavi Umar’s faction to keep Kashmiri youth away from drugs. But the question was how could the movement continue? The Hurriyat Council in Muzaffarabad (PoK) was in a rebellious mood. It would not give up control over huge narcotic funds nor on operational matters. The tailpiece was that the ISI hand-picked Muzaffarabad man called a meeting of APHC Srinagar which was attended by all except Geelani. He was not even informed about it, and no one sought his approval.

Geelani realized he was a spent force. Therefore, he sat in seclusion in his palatial bungalow in Haiderpora, and in seclusion poured out his anger and disappointment in a letter the contents of which became the catalyst for this writer to script the analysis.

Letter to the Editor – Signals from Kashmir

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Daily Excelsior
Sir,

Apropos K.B. Jandial’s Don’t overlook negative signals from Kashmir (DE 11 June). The writer has tried to unravel very crucial aspects of the current situation of Kashmir militancy. Nobody will disagree with his analysis and depth of perception. But I have to add something. I find he has been treading with over-cautious steps in a field that for sure is striven with dangerous thorns. He should have overcome reservation and caution in a matter that is of extraordinary importance to the Indian nation. Continue Reading…

Pakistan steps up firing across the border

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By K.N. Pandita

In recent months Pakistan has stepped up unprovoked firing and shelling at many sites along the LoC in J&K. Deviating from the previous practice and in blatant violation of the ceasefire agreement of 2003 between the two sides, Pakistani Rangers are now using heavy weapons and targeting the civilian locations on our side of the border. Several civilian casualties have happened and a large number of civilians living along the border had to be shifted to safer places. Continue Reading…

Contribution of Kashmir to Farsi literature

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K.N. Pandita

Introduction

Kashmir’s contribution to Farsi literature has to be taken as part of India’s contribution to Farsi literature. The beginning and popularizing of Farsi language and literature in India is connected with the establishment of Muslim rule first in the western and then in other parts of India; Continue Reading…

Jammu and Kashmir Nationalist Movement (JKNM)

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Press Release – 9 June 2020

JKNM strongly condemns the dastardly killing of young Ajay Pandit (Bharti) the elected Sarpanch of a village in Anantnag district at the hands of Islamic terrorists who have been fighting Islamic jihad in Kashmir for last three decades on the behest and with the tacit support of Pakistan-based terrorist organizations, two or three of which have been designated by the UN and the US State Department. Continue Reading…

Opposing Delimitation of Constituencies

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By K.N. Pandita

In a formal statement, National Conference rejected the government’s plan of forming an advisory committee to handle the delimitation of assembly constituencies in the J&K Union Territory. NC members nominated on the said committee by the Lok Sabha Speaker have declined to accept the assignment. Other opposition parties in the UT have also rejected the process attributing it to government’s opportunism. Continue Reading…

Who politicizes Islam?

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By K.N. Pandita

In an ethnic flare-up in the China’s Autonomous Republic of Xinjiang in 2011, more than 24 persons were killed and property destroyed. The attacks were brutal in Kashghar. Beijing accused the radicals among the Uighur Sunni Muslim community of Xinjiang of stoking the riots. It brought the onus of the violent upsurge to the doorsteps of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), who, it said, “receive training in Pakistan – an ally of China”, reported the Aljazeera channel in its Asia Pacific newscast on 6 August 2011. Continue Reading…

Discarding the Durbar move

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By K.N. Pandita

Perhaps J&K is the only federating unit of the Union of India with two capitals, and hence, the six-monthly shift of the secretariat. The practice of six-monthly Durbar move between Srinagar and Jammu adopted 149 years ago as per the necessity of the day, has turned to be redundant and outlandish in the second decade of the 21st century generally called the age of highly advanced science and technology. Continue Reading…

Issuance of Domicile Certificates

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By K.N. Pandita

It is learnt through media sources that an exercise is underway at the Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs for framing rules, defining procedures and notifying the competent authority for issuance of domicile certificates in the UT of J&K. The exercise has begun in the wake of the J&K Reorganization order issued by the Home Ministry on March 31, 2020. It is also reported that final touches are being given to the draft rules and the task may be completed within a week or so. Continue Reading…

Letter to the Editor – “Pandit, the legal pariah”

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Sir,

This refers to ‘Pandits as pariah, legally’, (GK April 29). The crux of author’s narrative is that the extirpated community of Kashmiri Pandits has lost the domicile right in Kashmir Valley in the wake of new Domicile Bill. He wants to provide rationale for the consequences of ethnic cleansing of Kashmir Valley of Kashmiri Hindu minority community in 1990. Continue Reading…