The mask is off the ‘movement’

TNN Bureau. Updated: 5/16/2017 2:58:51 PM Edit and Opinion

The political and security situation in Kashmir is reminiscent of the things that were in early 1990s –militants taking free run, people scared of them and the government clueless. As the militancy deepened, a key feature that emerged was the factional fight between militants and the ideological divide between them and the separatist leaders.

Burhan Wani’s successor Zakir Musa’s three videos have taken the situation squarely back to that stage. The call by Zakir Musa, who quit the Hizbul Mujahideen militant outfit, to fight for the creation of the Islamic State of Jammu and Kashmir, has triggered an ideological split among the militant outfits. Zakir drew the support of two other militant outfits — Harkatul Mujahideeen (HuM) and Kashmir Taliban — and the ideological rift has come years after the militants had sorted out their divergent views over the resolution of the Kashmir issue.

The ‘frank’ call for establishment of ‘Islamic State’ in Jammu and Kashmir is a dangerous portends but at the same time it is a welcome sign if looked at in strategic parlance. The ‘struggle’ in Kashmir –political and militant –has always been Islamic and Islamist but the ‘leaders’ confused it by masking the ‘movement’ as political.

Zakir Musa has just taken the mask off which would help people in Kashmir and outside the Valley to better understand as which direction they are being pulled in. This will also deprive the so called movement of the liberal support it has been getting within India and in several parts of the world. Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria offer the examples of what results the Islamist movements offer in the end. In the latest video released by Zakir, he emphasised that thought it should be the "priority of militants to fight Indian forces", but "once Kashmir gets freedom"’ there would be a fight on the shape of the State that would exist. In the 1990s, while the JKLF was pitching for the freedom of Kashmir from both India and Pakistan, the Hizbul Mujahideen was seeking the merger of this part of Kashmir with Pakistan.

It was in 1994 that the JKLF announced a unilateral ceasefire and its chairman, Yasin Malik, ran it as a political organisation. Although both the Hurriyat Conference led by Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq have often been fighting it out openly, Syed Salahudin has thrown his weight behind both factions. While Geelani has earlier been advocating the tripartite resolution of the Kashmir problem, some leaders within the Hurriyat(M) have also been stating that the resolution of Kashmir issue has to be found outside the purview of UN Resolutions. The latest call for ‘Islamic State’ has at the one side put the pro-separatist forces in a difficult position, it also gives the security forces a greater legitimacy in dealing with the situation.

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