SRINAGAR: Stakeholders have again pitched for unity among pro-freedom leaders in Kashmir to “effectively carry forward the ongoing movement.”
At a book-release function here, a number of speakers said it is high time that separatist leaders unite for the “larger cause” and “shun all differences.”
The function was organized to release the book titled ‘The last message of Shaheed Muhammad Afzal Guru’ by Afzal Guru, who was hanged in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail on February 9 this year. The book, which has been compiled by the Jammu and Kashmir National Front (JKNF), discusses at length various aspects of Kashmir dispute and ongoing movement for right to self-determination. It also talks about the role of intellectuals.
“Instead of wasting their energy on futile issues, the intellectuals of Kashmiris can help to put forward a road map before Kashmiris. It is the duty of intellectuals to take Kashmirs out of the marsh in which they have been pushed into by Indian politicians and their stooges. It is a sin on part of intellectuals to maintain silence,” Afzal writes.
The book was released by senior leader of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai in presence of Ajaz Ahmad Guru, brother of Muhammad Afzal Guru.
In his address, Chairman of Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) Shabir Ahmad Shah said he and some like-minded separatists have been trying to forge unity in the separatist camp. “But we failed. The problem is all of us want to be leaders and pursue our own cause. My unification efforts were sabotaged by forces and agencies. There are people within us who want to see the separatists divided,” Shah said.
“Those leaders who are feeling tired should leave the movement for their own good and larger public interest. Ironically, these leaders demand probes from those government institutions whose only aim is to persecute Kashmiris,” Shah said.
Terming ‘hartals’ and ‘chalo calls’ as forms of resistance, Shah underlined the need for evolving a common strategy among separatists. He paid rich tributes to Afzal Guru and pledged to take “his mission to its logical conclusion.”
“In his book, Afzal has called for introspection among Kashmiris and separatists. He has pointed towards mistakes of separatists and intellectuals and stressed for a common road map and agenda to take the movement forward,” Nayeem Khan said.
He said there was dire need to publish Afzal’s book as it will “act as guideline for Kashmir movement.” He referred to books of various personalities like Malcolm X, Antonio Gramci besides Syed Ali Geelani, Zamrooda Habib and others which were written in jails.
“These books invite people towards their respective cause and inspire them for revolution. These also become part of history. We gathered and compiled data for the book through writings of Afzal in Tihar jail on small pieces of paper,” Nayeem said.
Member High Court Bar Association (HCBA) Advocate Ghulam Nabi Shaheen said, “We are yet to value the sacrifices of our martyrs. We don’t even have a common road map. For some separatists resolution of Kashmir dispute is a fight and for others it is a stand. They have to make a choice and pursue one of these strategies,” he said.
Senior leader of Hurriyat (G) Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, who was chief guest of the function, said it was high time for introspection of people and stakeholders. “There are many reasons for failure of the reunification process. I don’t want to spill the beans on this occasion. I urge the people to continue to respect the present leadership. Transition of movement to younger generation will happen naturally and it is not to be forced. Youth are contributing to the ongoing struggle in their own way and we won’t interfere with their mode,” Sehrai said.
Chairperson of Muslim Khawateen Markaz, a constituent of Hurriyat (G), Zamrooda Habib reacted strongly to what she termed as “tirade against separatist leadership.” “The genuine separatist leadership is not fighting for power or mandate. Separatists have given unflinching sacrifices for the movement,” Zamrooda said.
She paid tributes to Afzal and saluted his resilience and sacrifices for the movement. Columnist ZG Muhammad said, “Our generation is a dead generation.” “We contribute through our pen. Before 1947 we had revolutionary writers like Azad. We don’t take sides and write on the basis of our conviction, not affiliation. There is no Edward Said on our soil. But we have potential in younger generation. Haqeeqat-e-Kashmir is its glaring example,” he said.
Advocate Riyaz Khawar dwelt at length of various old laws like Enemy Agents Ordinance, Explosive Act which he said are used “to keep Kashmiris imprisoned.” He also stressed for unification. “A leader must lead his nation. Kashmir which is confronted with many problems needs a united leadership.”
Columnist Dr Javaid Iqbal highlighted history of revolutions and stressed for common agenda to pursue the ongoing movement.
Sheikh Musaib, a jail mate of Afzal Guru in Tihar jail, hailed his humility and recounted inspirational letters from him.
On the occasion, two documentaries on human rights violations in Kashmir and Muhammad Afzal Guru were screened. A large number of people including separatists and civil society members were present on the occasion.