In its all-important meeting with the civil society groups on Tuesday, Hurriyat found itself surrounded by a large gathering of people from all walks of life, none of whom suggested a change of tack. But this was more out of a fear to be singled out for going against the separatist protest strategy than out of conviction. The outcome: Hurriyat’s four month long protest roster continues which has already brought Kashmir to the brink of an economic collapse.
“None of us wanted to say anything that was radically different from what seemed acceptable. Besides, people feared each other. Anybody who would dare go against the current would have become the odd man out,” a civil society leader who spoke at the meeting told Naradanews adding he didn’t want hartal to continue which had only decimated the economy of Kashmir and snatched the livelihoods of people. “But I had to nuance my speech”.
Similarly, many other participants didn’t want to be blamed for the possible change in strategy and its political fallout.
“Hurriyat is now seeking consultations with the civil society. They didn’t do so in the past four months. They took all the decisions and called for endless calendars. Now when things seem to be going wrong, they are seeking our opinion,” one of the activists who participated in the meeting said. “Most of us therefore put the ball back in their court. We told them in no uncertain terms that any change in strategy should be their decision, not ours”.
The situation at the venue of the meeting was very tense. As Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik were holding the marathon meeting with the civil society groups at Geelani’s residence at Hyderpora, a large gathering of people outside shouted pro-Azadi slogans and called for the continuance of the shutdown, which is already 125 day old. The slogans also held an implicit warning against any separatist leader who might seek to rethink the protest roster in force since the killing of Hzbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani.
A day after, the Hurriyat leaders extended the protest program till November 17 with shutdowns continuing uninterrupted. This has triggered a deep undercurrent of resentment in Kashmir.
“It is now a confirmed fact that these resistance leaders don’t have a vision and don’t have a solid strategy for achieving the goals. Repeating the same calendar, hartals and chalo calls since the last 27 years without any achievement is shear foolishness and shows the immaturity and bankruptcy of the ideas of this leadership,” a feedback in a local daily to the news about the latest calendar read.
They don’t know how to steer this ship out of the trouble waters now. They must move aside and let some more reasonable, intellectual, and literate guys take reins of this movement. If these resistance leaders continue being in the hot seat for more time then whole Kashmir and Kashmiris are doomed.