IS EGO KILLING THE HURRIYAT?
That the Hurriyat conglomerate has always been a house divided is no secret. However, just for the sake of its misplaced sense of prestige and false ego, the separatist amalgam has always tried to play down this issue by dismissing it as part of New Delhi’s ‘propaganda’ to malign the Hurriyat. So, even when the Wikileaks exposé independently confirmed the existence of very serious internal differences within this amalgam, the Hurriyat instead of addressing this malaise, chose to bury its head in the sand, just like the proverbial ostrich. So, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik’s public accusation the Hurriyat (M) and its Chairman Mirwaiz Omar Farook of not only misappropriating funds meant for victims of violence in Kashmir, but also safeguarding ‘Indian interests,’ should not come as a surprise for the separatist leadership.
There are bound to be differences of opinion within any amalgam and thus, the Hurriyat can be no exception. Disagreement or expression of dissent is not a cardinal sin, but attempts to demean the mother organisation by humiliating a colleague and demeaning a constituent group certainly are and that is exactly what the JKLF Chairman has done. What makes Malik’s tirade more irksome is that his outburst against the Hurriyat (M) Chairman and his party was not prompted by any differences on principles. On the contrary, it was due to an unsubstantiated perception that the Mirwaiz was instrumental in denying the JKLF Chairman a chance to address the audience at the anniversary programme of Imam Khumainee organised by Anjuman Shar-i-Shia at Kashmir University. And that such a minor incident could cause Malik to spew venom just goes to show how inflated egos can get the better of even some of our veteran leaders.
There is a need for the Hurriyat leadership to rein-in the mavericks so that the image of this amalgam is not tarnished. And there is also a need for them to put their duty and responsibilities above personal feelings. Above all, there is an urgent requirement to thoroughly investigate the allegations made by Malik against the Mirwaiz as same are very serious in nature and it is in the interest of the Hurriyat’s image that the truth must come out. The Hurriyat must not repeat the mistake of dismissing this incident as too trivial for attention as it pertains to misappropriation of funds that were meant for the victims of violence in Kashmir and the accusation of one constituent party being a ‘collaborator’. And the official statement issued by the JKLF that “Addressing the university authorities, Yasin Malik said that they must bear in mind that he represents the sentiments and sacrifices of Kashmiri nation and it is not possible for anyone to stop him from speaking on the issue of Azadi,” too requires to be discussed. This is because the same seems to suggest that only he is the sole representative of the ‘azadi’ movement.
Even if the Hurriyat decides to dismiss the allegations made by the JKLF Chairman against the Mirwaiz, it just cannot afford to brush aside two other issues on which Malik has spoken. The first is, “People of Jammu Kashmir know fully that JKLF has many a times even jumped into fire and safeguarded the Shia-Sunni unity.” While this may be fact, what is so special about it? Hasn’t every constituent party of the Hurriyat done of the same? And if this be so, then, unless Malik wants the people to believe otherwise, why is he blowing his own trumpet? The second is the JKLF Chairman’s statement that until now, he had maintained silence on these issues in the larger interests of the ‘resistance movement’ but now ‘he has been compelled to come out in public by these people’. What message does he wish to convey to the public through this cryptic utterance? Is he suggesting that there are skeletons in the Hurriyat’s cupboard? And so, this calls for an investigation and subsequent clarification as the Hurriyat, like Caesar’s wife, must be above suspicion!
Some people say that Yasin Malik suffers from a severe ego problem, which accounts for his frequent outbursts. While this may be true, one cannot also overlook the fact that since the JKLF Chairman is carrying a heavy baggage of the past, the painful burden of the same could also be a reason for such erratic behaviour. Although Malik may not accept it, but I am more inclined to believe that somewhere deep in his heart, there exists a mixed feeling of remorse and revulsion. Remorse, for having been instrumental in bringing the Kalashnikov into Kashmir, which has achieved nothing, but directly or indirectly, been responsible for the death of over a lac Kashmiris. And, revulsion for having allowed the Pakistan army and ISI to hurriedly push ill-trained Kashmiri youth with hardly any expertise in military skills into the jaws of certain death by making them wage war against the well trained and ruthless Indian army!