The Hurriyat Conference (G) has described the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as a creation of secret agencies and no different from the National Conference. The Hurriyat (G) has thus reiterated what the NC says about its rival: that the PDP was created by Indian intelligence agencies.
The Valley’s most popular resistance group also accuses the PDP of deceiving the masses by asking for votes in the name of change and development. In fact, the Hurriyat skips mentioning that Mufti Muhammad Sayeed had claimed that his party would petition for the resolution of the Kashmir issue in the Indian Parliament.
But the Hurriyat (G) has made a curious distinction between the PDP and the NC. It says that the NC “leadership is childish, immature and emotional, and uses state power to silence the people’s voice,” while Mufti Sayeed is a “clever and cunning type of politician who is working on a secret agenda to break the freedom movement of Kashmir.”
The resistance alliance also accuses Mufti of carrying out the killings of important militant commanders while paying lip service to their cause by claiming that he “would carry forward their agenda in the assembly.”
Many people are aware about the PDP’s genesis. And people born before 1990 are also aware of the fact that Mufti Muhammad Sayeed nourished Indian interests at times when even Sheikh Abdullah, who made the final sellout, was seen as leading a liberation struggle.
However, the Hurriyat (G) has seriously erred in making the PDP a bigger monster than the National Conference. Such comparisons, besides serving no purpose, end up helping one or the other party.
Shopfront discussions used to classify Farooq Abdullah as an Indian by compulsion and Mufti as an Indian by conviction. Similarly, Bakhshi Ghulam Mohammad’s unspeakable treacheries were almost forgiven by saying he was not an Indian at heart but tried to milk New Delhi using Kashmir as a bargaining chip.
The Hurriyat (G) could have done better by showing people that Farooq, who resorts to buffoonery, and Mufti, who employs cunning, are two faces of the same coin.
The Hurriyat (G) and all resistance groups, in the larger interest of Kashmiris, could do better than stating the obvious. In the past, we have seen such comparisons harming the freedom movement.
At least in two districts in the south, many Jama’at supporters voted for the PDP in the belief that the NC was a bigger nuisance than the party which owed its birth to the Congress, the home ministry and intelligence agencies. Had the leadership and careless intelligentsia not reinforced such comparisons, such a taint could have been avoided by a respected religious party which has made countless sacrifices for the freedom struggle.
Besides, instead of making general rhetorical statements, resistance groups could enlighten the people better by delving into the lives and careers of people who steer the pro-occupation parties. Why is it that a sizable number of journalists are working for one or the other party? What have been the past credentials and activities of the people who have joined these parties? How have the kin of these people been rewarded in the form of land or other goodies?
What exactly did these parties and politicians do in their careers about “development”? The resistance leaders should look at the specifics. For example, how many deals were signed by both the NC and the PDP that helped India’s militaristic control? How much land was gifted by both for army “goodwill” schools? How many protesters died in shootings for which Mufti, Farooq and Omar Abdullah are responsible? How many times did a PDP or an NC member raise the Kashmir issue in the Indian Parliament?
Even before former Indian army chief Gen (retired) VK Singh revealed that most pro-India politicians in Kashmir were paid agents, people had been specifically talking about the dealings of many politicians named or not named by the General. The talk remained confined to limited circles. Resistance groups could never make it an issue in a battle which is as much about information as about fighting bullets and state repression.
The structure of pro-India politics is pervasive and fluid. People ally with them for all manner of reasons, not always driven by selfish motives. When a bureaucrat or a former official of the cultural academy or the grandson of Kashmir’s revered naked saint or an American-educated boy or a former broadcaster join a pro-India party, we can dismiss their choices as career moves or a betrayal with the freedom struggle (though they had nothing to do with the struggle in the first place). But a better way would be a consistent interface with the people, rather than occasional statements dissecting every move by pro-occupation parties.
The habit of making such comparisons has percolated to the grassroots level and helped the Hassan Mirs and the Sagars, even the Indian army. A friend told me that people in a Sopore village, brutalised for so many years by the ugly occupation, would say “this army officer is better than his predecessor because he returns the bodies whole.” A comparison between odious entities like pro-India parties is itself odious.