Resolves to take freedom struggle forward, urges pro-India politicians to join people’s movement
Srinagar: Meeting for the first time after the raids and arrests made by the National Investigation Agency (NIA), the executive council of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Geelani on Wednesday gathered at the Hyderpora office to discuss the prevailing situation.
Sources in the Hurriyat Conference said that the NIA raids, legal challenge to Article 35A, and detentions of pro-freedom leaders were the main issues discussed in the meeting, which started at 11 in the morning and ended at 4 in the evening.
“It was the first time we were allowed to hold a meeting while our leaders were in detention in New Delhi,” a member of the council said.
Five leaders of the Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference – Altaf Ahmad Shah, Peer Saifullah, Ayaz Akbar, Nayeem Khan and Raja Mehraj ud Din Kalwal – are still in judicial custody in Delhi after being arrested by the NIA.
The Hurriyat Conference (G) has 23 executive council members of whom only 15 could attend. “Shabir Shah is detained in Delhi. No one could attend from Jammu region and Agha Syed Hassan could not reach Hyderpora due to some important work,” the sources said. Nayeem Khan’s National Front has already been suspended from the pro-freedom grouping.
“Tehreek-e-Hurriyat was represented by Geelani himself, as most of its members are jailed and its secretary general has been detained in his home,” the sources said.
A participant in the executive council meet told Kashmir Reader, “the resistance leaders debated the steps that need to be taken at this crucial juncture following NIA raids. The issues regarding the petition seeking abolition of Article 35A were also discussed.”
The meeting, interestingly, coincided with the issuance of a protest calendar by the joint resistance leadership against the petition. “We were in the middle of the meeting when the statement (protest calendar) was read. Without making any alterations, it was adopted and later issued to the press,” another participant said.
“The meeting observed that the NIA was being used to crush the freedom movement of J&K, as it was used to grant bail to Col Purohit (of Indian army),” said a member.
Colonel Purohit was accused by the Mumbai Police’s Anti-terrorism Squad (ATS) for organising the bomb blasts in Malegaon in Maharashtra. He was granted bail by an NIA court on Tuesday.
On Article 35A, “all the members were unanimous that the right to self-determination is the basis of our movement,” participants said.
One Hurriyat Conference leader said at the meeting, “we can question why the Indian Constitution has these articles (35A and 370) inscribed in it? The special status of J&K itself defines that Kashmir is a dispute. It is not like any other state of the Indian union.”
The leader, as quoted by the sources, said, “India wants to abolish such articles…so that J&K becomes a state like the other 28 states.”
“The (Kashmiri) nation was united in 2008 (during the uprising against Amarnath land transfer)… people became aware of their basic rights,” he said.
In its press statement, the Hurriyat Conference said that the participants pledged to “carry the ongoing freedom movement to its logical end”.
“Despite all odds, Hurriyat Conference will pursue their mission for right to self-determination until the Kashmir issue is resolved as per UN resolutions and aspirations of people,” the statement said.
“The participants observed that the NIA has no role in Kashmir,” the statement said. “They are using this agency as a war weapon against the leadership and the traders’ community and to defame and discredit the freedom struggle.”
In his presidential address, Syed Ali Geelani while “rejecting the Indian stand” on Kashmir said, “India is occupying our state purely through its military might.”
He urged members to “forge close and intact relations” with people to apprise them of the “deceit” of pro-Indian politicians on Article 370 and Article 35A.
“It is better for them to repent for their wrongdoings and join the people’s movement,” said Geelani. “They should apologise for the miseries they have inflicted on the nation.”
The press statement said that Ghulam Ahmad Gulzar was nominated as chief spokesperson of the Hurriyat Conference (G).
Meanwhile, both sons of Geelani reached New Delhi to report back at NIA headquarters where they are being questioned for alleged funding of “subversive activities in J&K”.
“The flight for Nayeem and Naseem was booked at 5:15 pm,” sources said.
The duo was summoned by NIA last month and questioned in New Delhi. They were sent home and asked to report back on August 18 with property documents, but their stay was extended after Geelani was admitted at SKIMS Soura.