The ‘Armed Struggle’ Albatross!

Niloofar Qureshi
March 5, 2017 OPINION 395 Views
The ‘Armed Struggle’ Albatross!

Last Friday was a sad day for the Kashmir struggle not because an innocent person was killed by a grenade hurled by militants at CRPF personnel, but because not a single voice was raised against this despicable act of violence. Moreover, by maintaining a stoic silence on this tragic incident, our leaders who otherwise keep shedding tears on those killed or injured by security forces have once again blatantly exhibited their gross insensitivity towards human tragedy caused by those who claim to be ‘freedom fighters’. And this is certainly not good for the overall health of the Kashmir struggle!
By throwing a grenade in the crowded area of Murran chowk in Pulwama district that injured two CRPF soldiers besides killing a brother Kashmiri, the ‘freedom fighters’ haven’t covered themselves with glory. On the contrary, this trend of attacking security forces in places teeming with civilians exposes the hypocrisy of the militants who proudly proclaim that they are fighting and putting their own lives in danger for the sake of the people of Kashmir. Even a child in Kashmir knows that attacking security forces in busy places creates a melee which provides militants the opportunity to escape and so if I were to say that this is an indication that militants value their own lives more than their brethren, then would I be absolutely wrong?
By remaining quiet on this murder and behaving as if nothing very serious has happened the Hurriyat too hasn’t done any good to its image either. The Hurriyat may not admit this but it knows very well that while it eulogises ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir and insists it has nothing to do with terrorism, militancy in Kashmir has actually proved to be the proverbial albatross around its neck. If this is not the case and militancy is really something as glorious as the separatists make it out to be, then why did the Mirwaiz fail to mention even a single word about ‘freedom fighters’ or the righteous ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir while addressing a panel discussion at Harvard University and later the media in Japan?
Unfortunately, while our leaders keep emphasising that the Kashmir struggle for ‘right to self determination’ is a peaceful one, they at the same time officially accept the “role of gun” as means to achieve it. By doing so, the Hurriyat has lost its moral right to talk about peaceful settlement of the Kashmir issue in accordance with UN resolutions. And so, when the Hurriyat has no apprehensions in using violence to achieve ‘self determination’, then with what face can it accuse the UN or the international community of not fulfilling their moral obligations towards the people of Kashmir?
There was a time when foreign delegations and diplomats conferred with the Hurriyat leadership on Kashmir. Remember that in 2004 a visiting EU delegation had described Kashmir as “a beautiful prison”? But it’s not so anymore and the reason for this unfortunate state of affairs is not very difficult to ascertain. Just check the time-line and you will find a definite correlation between the Hurriyat’s gradual acceptance of militancy and the international community correspondingly distancing itself from the separatists. For example, just four years after making its “beautiful prison” remark and demanding peaceful resolution of the ‘K’ issue, the EU suddenly changed its stance by referring to Kashmir as “an integral and important part of India.” And today, a stage has come when the EU even wants allegations of human rights violations in Kashmir to be settled through “domestic Indian institutions”!
What is perplexing is that though the Hurriyat consistently maintains that due to New Delhi’s obduracy, the Kashmir imbroglio requires international intervention, it doesn’t at all seem serious about doing anything to enhance its credibility in the eyes of the international community. While it’s absolutely right for the Hurriyat to draw attention of the international community to incidents of human right violations committed by security forces in Kashmir, but it would be really naïve for the separatists to assume that the world will not take note of innocent civilians being killed by militants just because the Hurriyat doesn’t make noises about it!
In July last year when the government used repressive means to quell protests after the martyrdom of Hizb commander Burhan Wani, Hurriyat (G) chairman SAS Geelani wrote to the UN “on behalf of the oppressed and besieged people (of Kashmir) to draw the attention of the world community” to what he mentioned as “a new wave of state terror unleashed by the Indian armed forces.” Though it is customary for the office of UN Secretary General to respond to such communications either orally or in writing, Geelani sahib’s appeal for international intervention went unanswered. This is something that the Hurriyat needs to really worry about but surprisingly it doesn’t seem to do so.
The Hurriyat’s ability to completely paralyse life in Kashmir by giving shutdown calls is most certainly an undisputed indication of its popularity amongst the masses. However, while its domestic image is very good, unfortunately the same cannot be said about its image abroad. Its failure to condemn the excesses committed by ‘freedom fighters’ against their own people in a manner that is as strong as its criticism of similar actions by security forces raises serious doubts within the international community regarding impartial credentials as well as the unconditional concern of the Hurriyat for victims of violence in Kashmir!
In fact, continued silence of the Hurriyat on the wrongdoings of militants has created a general impression in the mind of the international community that the separatists are playing a ‘double game’ of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. Though this cannot be claimed to be the most probable reason why no country (except Pakistan) or international organisation wants to have anything to do with the Hurriyat, this possibility just can’t be outrightly rejected on the grounds that it is illogical or ridiculous!

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