Don't take people for granted

Kashmir’s pro-freedom camp has faced many types of ebbs and flows in the state’s six decades old turbulent history. While this period of Kashmir’s national history is replete with the incidents of unprecedented sacrifices offered by people and leadership alike, it has also witnessed compromises and capitulations by those leading from the front on this side of the political divide, swapping of loyalties by the fatigued and expression of regrets by political demagogues over “political wilderness” for resisting the usurpation of people’s rights. However, despite all this, pro-freedom sentiment has dominated the political discourse in the state and has shaped not only the affairs of the people of Jammu and Kashmir but remained pivotal to international relations in south Asia. On which side of the political divide people poise themselves, this fact about the nature of Kashmir dispute can be denied only at the cost unbearable for the humanity to incur. The sentiment has proved enduring compared to the short-lived political lives of leaders. After militancy, the stakeholders felt the need for a united political platform to give voice to the people’s sentiment. Hence, All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), an amalgam of almost all major pro-freedom political entities was formed in March 1993. People, pinning their hopes to the amalgam and expecting it to reflect their aspirations with commitment and sincerity, followed its programmes in letter and spirit. However, like the unfortunate internecine clashes of armed groups, the amalgam also suffered internal strife resulting into its inevitable spilt after 2002 assembly elections in the state. The recent developments in one of its factions caused a further division resulting into creation of a yet another faction of the APHC. Over the years, the actions of the Hurriyat leaders itself have strengthened the negative notions propounded by their political adversaries. Their actions have trivialized their positions and made them a subject of ridicule for the masses. It is an irony but fact that the Hurriyat leaders have proved to be biggest spoilers of the people’s movement. Differences among people are a natural phenomenon but when it comes to a national cause, self interests and personal opinions should take a back seat. So far as the peoples’ movement is concerned, it has preceded the present class of Hurriyat leaders and preceded their precursors in the camp. Sooner the leaders understand this, the better for them.