J&K: Govt lets Geelani, Mirwaiz, Malik to mull over future options
In a significant development, Government has allowed Valley’s separatist triumvirate – Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik – to hold consultations about the future course of action.
Mirwaiz and Malik reached the residence of Geelani at Hyderpora Srinagar at around 11 am and met for three hours. In a joint statement later, the trio called for a meeting of all stakeholders on Tuesday to discuss the future strategy and the conduct of the school examinations.
“There is an urge to take all the stake holders into confidence for taking the ongoing movement forward,” the Hurriyat statement read adding that all the civil society forums including traders, educationists, transporters, civil society members, religious, social and political organizations, bar association and people from other walks of life will meet on Tuesday to put forward their respective opinions. J&K Government had earlier foiled the meeting of the three leaders, a decision which had invited public criticism. Government only recently released Mirwaiz and Malik from a three month long detention.
Their meeting has now created a hope that the trio might review the protest calendar which has brought Valley to the brink of economic collapse. The massive response to the hartal calender, punctuated by the regular killings of teenagers spread the protests from far and wide, encouraging hawkish elements within Hurriyat to call for successive weeklong shutdowns.
However, along the way, the situation has gone through a complete metamorphosis. The ongoing unrest in the Valley has altered the political equations in the Valley like no other agitation after the violent upheaval of the early nineties. Let alone mainstream leadership whose already uncertain credibility has hit a new low, even separatists have struggled to connect with the new angry generation on Kashmir’s streets who are cynical and dismissive of any attempt to control their activities.
The turbulence has been almost exclusively driven by the anger of the protesting youth with some separatist leaders trying to play to this constituency by issuing hartal programmes.
However four months of uninterrupted shutdown have set in fatigue and caused the loss of livelihoods. People are now demanding rethink of the strategy which has only inflicted misery on the people rather than advancing the cause of the current upsurge.
Now the question is whether the three leaders will take a call on the hartal calendar. The Sunday’s meeting has created a hope they might be forced by public opinion to change tack. In recent past, the public transporters have complained of heavy losses.
What has also catalysed the new activity is the visit of the five member Track-II delegation led by the former foreign minister Yashwant Sinha and its meetings with Geelani and Mirwaiz. However Malik had refused to meet the delegation citing lack of concern for the human rights violations in Kashmir.
It was only after the delegation’s visit that Malik and Mirwaiz were freed. And now Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has indicated that government would review the cases against the youth booked for their involvement in the current unrest.
Now, according to sources, the Track-II delegation comprising some new members is likely to visit Kashmir again in the following week to carry forward the mission. One of the main tasks for the delegation is to prevail on the separatists to agree to facilitating the reopening of the schools.