Sunday, March 7, 2021

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Truce In Sight; Hurriyat Conference Could Fight State Elections In Jammu & Kashmir?

Founder of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (a political front to raise the cause of Kashmiri separatism in the J&K), Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has demanded the restoration of 4G internet services in the new Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. 

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The development signals an important change in the stance by the leader who along with other separatist leaders have long maintained a secessionist and pro-Pakistan approach. An analyst who spoke to EurAsianTimes pointed out that it is a hint that the party has softened its stand and is showing its inclination to join the mainstream.

“Post-August 5, 2019, after New Delhi revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq maintained silence over the critical issues and has refrained from issuing any statement which could have pushed him behind the bars,” the analyst said.

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The analyst further said, “Soon after the Kashmir centric mainstream politicians were detained, there were reports that Hurriyat gave a written assurance to the Jammu and Kashmir administration that they will remain silent and won’t indulge in any activity which could disrupt the peace in the region.”

The observer said that Hurriyat demanding restoration of 4G internet instead of preaching secessionism and advocating Pakistan’s cause is a significant development because the separatists who mislead the people have a got a clear message that anyone challenging Kashmir’s accession with India will have to face the law of the land which has created ripples in the separatist circles.

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It merits attention that Mirwaiz has maintained a distance from Geelani during the past seven months without the issuance of any strike calls and anti-national statements.

According to experts, “Today Mirwaiz is seeking restoration of 4G internet, tomorrow he may seek restoration of the statehood and eventually he could even decide to participate in elections if he sees a strong prospect for himself.” If Sajjad (Lone) can do it, then why not Mirwaiz?

The Hurriyat Conference has boycotted every election since 1987 as they are of the belief that elections are not an alternative nor a substitute to the right of self-determination and the Kashmiris cannot determine their future through elections.

Another reason why Hurriyat has boycotted elections is because of the poll rigging in 1987. In 1983 prominent Kashmiri politician Sheikh Abdullah’s son Farooq Abdullah won a huge majority in 1983 but fell out with then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who had him dismissed the very next year.

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But when he joined hands with Indira Gandhi in the elections of 1987, many people turned against him. It is believed that the elections of 1987 were rigged in favour of Farooq Abdullah which shook the faith of ordinary people Kashmir and infuriated the opposition.

Many parties like Jamaat-e- Islami, the people Conference and the Ittihad-ul-muslimeen which are part of the All-Party Hurriyat Conference were on the losing side and since then have been campaigning for plebiscite or merger with Pakistan.

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