Er Rasheed’s AIP beats retreat from central, south Kashmir

Party to focus on Kupwara Handwara belt

Srinagar: Awami Itehad Party (AIP), led by Engineer Rasheed, has wound up its party activities from central and southern Kashmir.
According to the party workers and lower rung leaders, the AIP has told them to disengage from the party and its activities as it intends to consolidate its position in Handwara-Kupwara belt in northern Kashmir.
“We have been working hard to strengthen the party on the ground,” a former AIP leader told Kashmir Reader. “Few weeks ago, some of us were communicated officially while some were told verbally that they are at liberty to leave the party as AIP has decided to wind up its activities in central and south Kashmir”.
The worker termed the AIP message to workers and district presidents as a “shock”.
“The party has slowly increased its presence in Srinagar, Anantnag, Kulgam, and Shopian,” the worker said. “The people who left the party include the spokesman, district presidents and youth leaders”.
The former workers claimed the decision was taken in the aftermath of NIA raids.
The Langate legislator, who is considered as a fierce critic of the state and an ardent advocate of right to self determination, has been hogging headlines and dominating space in prime time Indian TV debates.
He was called by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to Delhi in connection with a probe in an alleged terror funding case.
An AIP leader, who is still part of the party, said the party has to wind up its activities due to financial issues.
“Our finances were down,” the leader said. “So we could not sustain our activities. The second thing was ideological. We wanted people who are more ideologically oriented towards the AIP. These were the main reasons for curtailing our activities”.
Asked about the development, Rasheed said that the party was concentrating more on the quality than on numbers.
“The ideology of our party is intact,” Rasheed said. “People have lost hope in the political system. Hence we need to restore it by using the services of committed people. We will continue to raise the voice of the people”.
He said that the AIP would focus on north Kashmir, more specifically Handwara –Kupwara area.
“We have to increase our activity in north Kashmir since our maximum votes are concentrated in that area,” he said.