Just last week while commenting on a naxalite attack on CRPF personnel in Chattisgarh AIP chief and MLA Er Rasheed had said that “Today’s incident has proved that affiliating armed movement with any religion is wrong” and hit out at “those labeling ongoing resistance in J&K as Islamisation and Wahabisation.” At that time, little would he have realised that within a matter of days Hizbul Mujahideen (HM) commander Burhan Wani’s successor Zakir Rashid Bhat alias Moosa would say things that would prove him wrong!
In a recently released video, the Kashmir chief of HM has said certain things that his outfit has never spoken about or hinted at before, such as:
- Nationalism and democracy are “un-Islamic.”
- The aim of fighting with guns or pelting stones should be for establishing “supremacy of Islam” and not Kashmir’s freedom.
- Sharia should be introduced in Kashmir.
What HM commander Moosa has said would have most certainly come as a big shock to not only Er Rasheed but many others. However, it is the Hurriyat that has probably been embarrassed the most by the utterances of HM’s Kashmir chief because the separatist camp has all along been claiming that the ‘armed struggle’ in Kashmir is solely for getting people their legitimate ‘right to self determination’ and has nothing to do with religion. Now that Moosa’s unambiguous declaration has left no doubt that the struggle in Kashmir is all about and only about religion, the Hurriyat which has been vociferously endorsing the ‘armed struggle’ owes the people of Kashmir an explanation.
The HM commander’s remarks have once again rekindled the oft debated issue of whether the Islamic State (IS) has already made or is likely to make inroads in Kashmir. In the past the separatists, intelligentsia and civil society have repeatedly rubbished this probability on the grounds that our long history of religious tolerance, strong cultural and social values would never allow ISIS type of radical religious ideology to take roots in Kashmir. However, Moosa has proved all of us wrong and the tragedy is that our leaders don’t quite know what to do because in their unbridled optimism they never considered the possibility that the HM would take such a step.
Despite claims of having its finger on the pulse of the people, the failure of the Hurriyat to foresee the HM’s radicalisation is something that cannot be pardoned as indications of this were aplenty. Based on the emerging trends, I had in a piece titled ‘Are ISIS flags in Kashmir a precursor of its footprints?’ (Brighter Kashmir, July 22, 2015), warned against complacency by saying, “So, let us not adopt an ostrich like approach by burying our heads in the sands of unjustifiable over optimism. We are seeing for ourselves how easily young people from all over the world are being lured into joining the ISIS and so to think and believe that our youth will prove to be an exception is a dangerous delusion!”
In the same piece I had also pleaded that “instead of just relying on wishful thinking, let us take suitable actions to ‘immunise’ our youth against the scourge of radicalism which is spreading across the globe like a wildfire and thereby save them and Kashmir from destruction. There is an immediate need to wean away our youth from violence by educating them on the futility of the same as acquiring a violent mindset would make them all the more vulnerable to radicalisation.” Thus I am greatly saddened and this is not because the Hurriyat didn’t pay any heed to my forewarnings or suggestions and take timely actions to prevent this from happening.
I know that the separatist conglomerate suffers from the serious problem of disregarding anything that doesn’t ooze with optimism even if it is hard fact and thus it would be naïve for me to expect the Hurriyat to take note of something disquieting like the distinct possibility of IS ideology taking roots in Kashmir. Why I feel sad is because when the indications of this eventuality could be sensed in a place as far away as New Delhi more than two years ago, our leaders sitting right in the eye of the storm remained blissfully unaware of the dark clouds of radicalism gathering around Kashmir.
Tailpiece: With the HM determined to establish a Caliphate here, the Hurriyat may be right in its assessment that the IS doesn’t have any place in Kashmir!