Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani surprised many people in Kashmir and across the country by announcing his resignation from his faction of the Hurriyat Conference, which he headed for more than two decades.
Many people believe his resignation would pave the way for the end of anti-India politics in Kashmir as separatism has lost its address in the Valley. Geelani in his resignation mentioned that the so-called “freedom movement of Kashmir” has become the “movement” of Pakistan’s interest and the young generation of Kashmir has been turned into drug addicts.
The Jammu and Kashmir Police in the recent past have arrested many militant aides with narcotics and huge amounts of cash. The blocking of Hawala channels has led to the separatist funding getting choked from all sides. To overcome the curbs, the people sitting across the Line of Control (LoC) have taken refuge in drugs to sponsor militancy and separatism in Kashmir.
After Geelani tendered his resignation, people in Kashmir had one question for him -- what did he achieve by preaching sedition and separatism for all these years?
More than a lakh have died in Kashmir since 1990 after the armed insurgency broke out in the Valley. After 30 years, Geelani has realised that the so-called Kashmir movement is the movement of Pakistan’s interest. Someone needs to tell him that separatism, sedition and militancy have always been the movements of Pakistan’s interests. This so-called movement was never the movement of the common Kashmiri people. Pakistan forced a gun on them and turned Kashmir into a graveyard. People like Geelani sold illusions and dreams to people in the name of Azadi and Pakistan. Sponsoring shutdowns, orchestrating street protests, delivering fiery speeches and leading funeral prayers of the dead were some of the jobs assigned to Geelani and his ilk.
Geelani’s resignation should serve as an eyeopener for those who still support militants and stone-pelters. Kashmir has witnessed enough bloodshed -- it needs to stop. It’s high time people realise that Pakistan is not their friend but their biggest enemy who, by pushing them towards violence, has snatched their right to live a peaceful life. Geelani’s exit is ample proof of the fact that the veteran separatist at the fag end of his life seems to have realised that calling for shutdowns has not served any purpose. What he has done during the past 30 years was nothing but a wasteful exercise. Kashmiri youth who have taken up arms and are under the illusion they will bring Azadi need to bear in mind that violence is no solution and the path they have chosen will not take them anywhere except getting killed.
People who are still acting as stooges of Pakistan and are talking about United Nations resolutions are doing a big disservice to the people of Kashmir. They should see the writing on the wall that J&K is an integral part of India and no power can snatch it. Pakistan and people like Mirwaiz Umar Farooq have maintained silence over Geelani’s resignation. It seems he has been dumped by his friends and foes. By showing indifference towards the veteran leader, other separatists have hinted they were not interested in Geelani and his politics and it could be due to the pressure of militants and Pakistan they used to follow him.
After the abrogation of Article 370 and J&K’s reorganisation, these so-called leaders have gone into oblivion as they have been left with nothing to sell. Their propaganda has proved to be a bundle of lies and the revelations made by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) about them having amassed huge wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income has exposed them. The people of Kashmir have rejected the separatism and their brand of politics.
Geelani needs to do a favour to the people of Kashmir by telling them the truth that Pakistan during all these years has been fighting its own war by using Kashmiris. People sitting across the LoC have turned Kashmir into a battlefield to avenge the humiliating defeats in the wars against India. He needs to tell the people of Kashmir that they have been caught in the crossfire and they need to come out of it by defeating the nefarious designs of Pakistan and the militants sponsored by it. The veteran leader needs to muster courage and tell the truth. His resignation is a significant development and an assertion that he has accepted defeat.
(The writer is a former journalist and president of Kashmir Youth Alliance. Views expressed are personal.)