‘Mufti is a master in sugarcoating poison as remedy’
Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Hurriyat hardliner, sees same motives, different approach in PDP and BJP
At a corner of congested Khirki Extension in Delhi’s Malviya Nagar, a bustling narrow lane opens into a silent compound surrounded by apartment buildings. A guard sits in a wooden post while a group of policemen in civvies walk around. Each year, a small two-bedroom flat here is the winter home of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the unflinching leader of Kashmir’s hardline separatists and the man Masarat Alam reports to.
Far from his base in Kashmir, Geelani, 85, lives here with his wife Jawahira but keeps a close eye on all that is happening in Kashmir politics, especially after Mufti Mohd Sayeed’s PDP formed a coalition with the BJP.
“Mufti sahib’s politics is kaesre ta-el aab,” he says, using a metaphor for the illusion of land created by floating rice hulls that also camouflage the depth of the water. “As far as the Kashmir cause is concerned, he is much more dangerous. He is an Indian by conviction. A look at his long political life shows how staunch an Indian he has always been. Whatever he is doing is only in the interests of India. We have no illusion about it.”
He says the PDP is always playing “political games”. “The only difference between the PDP and the BJP is in their approach,” he says. “The BJP has an aggressive approach and wants to impose its policy on Kashmir. That is open and we have to resist them. Mufti sahib is doing it in a new way. He wants to harm us by claiming he is a friend of the people. He is showing sympathy but his intention is exactly the same as the BJP’s.”
Geelani talks about Mufti’s first comments after taking over as CM. “He said Hurriyat, militants and Pakistan helped in the conduct of elections. That was a clear political game,” Geelani says. “The hard reality is that those who called for an election boycott were not even allowed to step out; everybody was jailed. He twisted this fact. It (the statement) was aimed at creating confusion. He is the CM, why doesn’t he make public a record of the mass crackdown before the elections? Everybody know Pakistan had no interest in the elections. How could militants help the poll process? First, there aren’t many, and those active are fighting and sacrificing their lives.”
Geelani cites a couplet by Iqbal, saying Mufti’s political moves are Makro fun-e-khawajgi (the art of deceit of the ruling elite). “Even the BJP’s public opposition to Mufti’s moves plays according to his script. He wants to pretend he is a friend of the people of Kashmir. But we understand these political manoeuvres too well to allow them to succeed,” Geelani says. “The BJP’s aim is not to allow anybody who talks about azadi from occupation live. Mufti’s aim is exactly the same but he sugarcoats it.”
Geelani cites the example of Masarat, who is part of his Hurriyat. “He was released because he was under illegal detention. The court had regularly quashed his detention but they were still keeping him in jail,” Geelani says. “If he was released after so much injustice, how can anybody take credit for it? The issue should have been how the government kept him behind bars illegally for so long.”
The way the BJP and the Centre have reacted to Alam’s release, Geelani says, is an “eye-opener”, even for Mufti. “The party he has aligned with isn’t ready to accept a decision he has taken,” Geelani says. “The way the central government reacted and all the statements that were made in Parliament expose the truth behind tall claims about democracy and rule of law in J&K. They (the Centre) have no faith in decisions taken by their own courts. We don’t run the courts that ordered Masarat Alam’s release… If you don’t want to respect the decisions of your own judges and courts and if you don’t want to acknowledge injustice, how can you say there is democracy? This system is based on revenge.”
Geelani doesn’t think the change of government will have any bearing on the larger Kashmir issue. Yet, he says, “This current coalition is much more dangerous.” He says he hopes the people don’t get swayed by “material benefits” because “the policies of this alliance are going to be dangerous for future generations”. He says “people shouldn’t allow despair to dominate them” because “that is the beginning of death”. “That is the modus operandi of this new government. They will try to make you feel they will help you. Their aim is not to help you but to strengthen occupation. Their agenda has been set by the RSS and they will do everything to change the demography of the state,” he says. “And Mufti is a master in sugarcoating poison and offering it as a remedy.”
Geelani doesn’t want to talk about a recent visit by Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit. “They (Pakistan) are themselves going through a difficult time,” he says. “The only way to bring a change to this brutal status quo is our resistance. And we will resist whatever the circumstances.”
Source:: Indian Express