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Separatists grappling with confusion

india Updated: Nov 10, 2009 12:27 IST
Arun Joshi

Jammu Kashmiri separatists are grappling with a dilemma as to how to proceed with the dialogue process, to take along the pro-Indian groups like National Conference or all by themselves.

This confusion is prevalent, both within the moderate camp of the Hurriyat Conference, which also is having trouble in sorting out the issues among its leaders, and also with the hardline leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani,

Geelani is opposed to the bilateral dialogue and in no mood to dilute his stand on India first accepting Kashmir as a “ disputed territory”. He also wants India to withdraw the troops from all cross the state, release of all prisoners, and repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act ( AFSPA), before the start of the dialogue.

And, that dialogue too he wants to have simultaneous seating arrangement for Pakistan, India and the leadership of Kashmir.

His long held theory is that contaminated water has to be removed one and for all , rather going in for a short-term arrangements, or taking out of few buckets out of the smelling well. “ That’s true of Kashmir as well, it needs a permanent solution, not the patchwork.”

That’s one part of the story that is unfolding on dialogue front in Kashmir.

Within the moderate wing of the Hurriyat Conference, its chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and one of his predecessors Abdul Ghani Bhat are on a collision course, whether to join hands with National Conference and PDP .

Bhat says , yes, because he feels that a joint frame would project a picture of unity of all Kashmiris. NC’s autonomy plank and PDP’s self rule – throw similarities with what separatists are seeking to achieve through goal- a greater degree of self governance. He also disclosed to media that it had the backing of Pakistan, according to his version in a newspaper.

Mirwaiz says “ no”. He wants the both NC and PDP to first give up their power politics in Kashmir , join Hurriyat and then some kind of arrangement can be worked out.

Shabir Shah, who is also part of the moderate wing of the Hurriyat Conference is adopting an extremist line. He wants the similar arrangement before the dialogue, as does Geelani.

As these hardliners – known ones- and within the moderates are walking their different lanes , with signs of a common lane receding, the JKLF chief Yasin Malik has played a clever ball. “ Get all others to agree”, he told a visiting team of the Hurriyat Conference , he would be boarding the flight to the land of dialogue .

Kashmiri separatists are clueless , as to how forge the unity and on what terms.