Hurriyat leaders ‘blind men on lame horse’: Abdul Gani Bhat
Striking the first discordant note against the separatist handling of the current unrest in Kashmir, a top separatist leader and the former Hurriyat chairman Prof Abdul Gani Bhat has termed his colleagues in the Hurriyat as “blind riders on a lame horse”. He said the separatist leaders had “jumped into the river without knowing how to swim”.
Bhat made these remarks at the launch of the first volume of his autobiography ‘Beyond Me’ at well-attended ceremony at his residence at Jawahar Nagar in Srinagar. A professor of Persian at Sopore Degree College, Bhat was dismissed from service in 1986 for what he said “being a threat to the security of the state”.
The autobiography only covers the early period of his life up to 1987, a year before the secessionist militant struggle began in Kashmir.
“Our leaders are like a blind rider on a lame horse. A lame horse cannot run and they also don’t know where to take it,” he said. He had harsh words for the separatist strategy. “Our strategy is like jumping into a river. But we have no idea how to cross it”.
Bhat said separatist leaders had “sincerity of purpose but no brains”. The leaders, he said, should not only be honest but also sagacious enough to be clear about the goal and the challenges associated with it.
“Those who lead should do so in the light of a deeper and a clear understanding of what is required to be done. They should possess the light of the vision, the light of the mind which is sharp and penetrating,” he said. “In darkness, our heads can collide. We can lose ourselves. This is why we need leaders who can see and understand what is at stake”.
This has generated a debate about the separatist calendars with its uninterrupted shutdowns which has adversely affected economy and rendered thousands of people jobless. This has now triggered an open defiance of Hurriyat program by a large section of people who are now refusing to obey shutdowns. Over the past two weeks, markets have reopened in parts of Valley. Similarly, passenger sumos have started to ply in various areas.
Bhat also questioned the right of the “leaders of two-member parties” to decide on behalf of the people of Kashmir. “Everybody is a leader in Kashmir now. There are no common men left,” Bhat said. He called on Hurriyat to display foresight and show the way and expressed unhappiness that some of the leaders who didn’t represent anybody had opted to continue the self-inflicting protest programs.
However, this is not the first time that Bhat has dared to speak the truth. In January 2011, he had created a flutter when he blamed “own people” for the killing of the major separatist leaders Molvi Farooq and Abdul Ghani Lone, the fathers of current Hurriyat chairman, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and the separatist turned mainstream politician Sajad Gani Lone respectively.
“Time has come to speak the truth. Neither the Army nor the police killed Lone sahib and Molvi Farooq sahib but our own people,” Bhat had said while addressing a seminar on the role of intellectuals in the separatist movement on the occasion of the death anniversary of Molvi Farooq and Gani Lone, both of whom were assassinated on May 21 in 1990 and 2002 respectively.