JAMMU: If a question is posed to anyone as to who is ruling Kashmir, the answer will obviously be Syed Ali Shah Geelani. By all accounts, the successive governments have abdicated their responsibilities to govern Jammu and Kashmir, as real shots are being called by the Hurriyat hawk. Lately, the BJP too has joined the bandwagon of Kashmir mainstream to go by whims of Geelani.
A person who ought to have been behind bars for his crimes against people and war against the State is not only calling the shots but these are obeyed too ‘in letter and spirit’. The Valley has been witnessing government writ getting undermined on regular basis by weekly protest calendars being issued by Hurriyat Conference and adhered to by the people, which is why hardcore hawk, Syed Ali Shah Geelani has emerged as an uncrowned king of Kashmir. When he speaks, he is taken note of, be it the government or the confused Kashmiris. If he wants a government order to be rescinded (like in the case of Dogra certificate during the tenure of Omar Abdullah as Chief Minister), the Governments at the Centre and the State only feel obliged in carrying out the ‘Farmaan’. If he feels a slight pain in the chest, the governments get panicked and arrange for the best treatment available in the country. If he asks the people to shut down, the city and the towns get deserted, notwithstanding claims of the ruling class that they enjoy support of the majority of the people.
Barely a few days after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti claimed normalcy returning back to Kashmir last year, after nearly four-month unrest in the wake of Hizb terrorist Burhan Wani’s killing, Geelani came out with an invite to tourists and pilgrims to visit the Valley with his assurance of security and protection. Ostensibly, the invite was for the winter tourists besides winter sports and adventure lovers, due to crumbling Kashmir economy, as also drying up of funds due to abrupt halt to flow of fake currency and Hawala money in the wake of demonetisation. Geelani had also held out assurances of security to Amarnath pilgrims despite the pilgrimage having reduced to almost zero after violence broke out over the killing of Burhan Wani. Geelani’s love for pilgrims is intriguing as the old man is used to describe this Yatra as cultural aggression of Kashmir.
Geelani’s assurance of safety to tourists and pilgrims stems out from his confidence and control over terrorists, stone-pelters and mischief mongers, who have held peace in Kashmir to ransom. His clout among terrorists and stone-pelters is immense.
Every year separatist Hurriyat trio, Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar and Yasin Malik keep issuing statements, “Tourists and pilgrims who intend to visit Kashmir are most welcome…the people of Kashmir have been taught “to be kind with our guests and serve them and safeguard their rights at every cost…This is also embedded in our Kashmiri culture and ethos and that is why our hospitality has been exemplary throughout the history.” By such statements they keep asserting their roles as uncrowned kings.
While describing protection of guests as an article of faith, the trio surely must not be ignoring the harsh reality of hounding out the members of the Kashmir’s larger family from their homes and hearths at gun-point and by employing all coercive measures. While tourists and pilgrims are welcome in Kashmir, the properties left over by the sons of soil are being usurped or encroached, rendering them rootless for all times to come.
The uncrowned king of Kashmir-Geelani- does not derive his authority from heavens; he is commanding it because of the inept governments, which have surrendered their will to govern or are working as per some hidden agenda to accord respectability to separatist modules like Hurriyat by pitching on every forum to have New Delhi’s engagement with them. Had it not been a voluntary submission to whims and fantasies of Geelani, why should these so-called mainstream governments work overtime to shield him and to help him grow larger than his size.
Geelani has never allowed peace to gain roots in the turbulent Valley. Whenever Kashmir looks towards normalcy, Geelani comes with calendars. These calendars are abided by religiously by people, including lakhs of ‘mainstream’ supporters, who queue up for voting the soft-separatist mainstream parties.
Despite milking New Delhi, day in and day out, the so-called mainstream parties have never ever mustered the courage to assert their power during the past over two decades. Holding brief for Geelani speaks shamelessness and lack of self-esteem of the mainstream camp. Geelani loves to use highly contemptuous language against them by describing democratically and constitutionally elected governments as ‘puppets of New Delhi’. And these puppets take pride in calling Geelani a visionary and a leader. This is not just sycophancy but a definite design to weaken India’s foot-hold in the Valley. (To be continued)
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