Times have changed?
All behaved with maturity. Good news
No two situations can be compared. Here are four, and the public response was different in all the four situations : the siege of Hazratbal shrine in 1993 and 1996; burning down of the shrine of Charar-e- Sharief in 1995 and now the mysterious fire in the Peer Dastrgir Sahib’s shrine. There is a common knowledge that what happened when and who did what in all these four cases. Two situations in Hazaratbal shrine were different. In 1993, there was a mass fury over the occupation of the shrine by militants and siege laid by the army. There were tragic consequences. More than 46 precious lives were lost on a single day ( 37 in the South Kashmir town of Bijbehra in firing by Border Security Force on a procession, killing 37 of them wounding dozens of others, and nine others were killed in Srinagar city, mostly in Nawakadal area). The day was October 22- first Friday after the siege was laid around the shrine on October 15-16 might., 1993. And the biggest thing was that time, the united Hurriyat Conference was powerful, effective and had some elements of reason. Those who called shots, gave a call for indefinite strike. The result was that there was a complete shutdown for 37 days throughout the Valley, it was Hurriyat Conference, then led by Mirwaiz Hurriyat Conference, which gave calls and extended the strikes and the people obliged. Now that Hurriyat Conference is divided into three major portions. That is an open chapter for all to read.
There is no point in visiting the history, how the Hurriyat Conference, betrayed itself and its own ideology and how egos never melted and the result is that now it is trying to seek relevance by adopting one after another tactics. Nevertheless, it retains the symbolism of separatism. There are individual separatists and semi-separatists, but when it comes to talking about talking to some one, it’s the Hurriyat Conference alone. The November 15, 1993 when militants vacated the shrine, the Valley had seen a turn around. It became conscious of its own limitations and also that of the militants and the militant leadership, irrespective of the fact whose hands were guiding them, if the government is to be believed, from across the border. That leaves little scope for the imagination.
Hazratbal two : March 1996: By this time, much had changed. It was not the Hurriyat Conference that was calling shots, though its relevance stayed. It were new groups- Pan Islamic Groups, like Harkat-ul-Ansar, that had started making its presence felt It launched a campaign to get the bunkers around the white marbled and the most revered shrine of the Kashmiri Muslims – Hazratbal. Others followed. But the Hurriyat Conference gathered the courage and chided HuA for linking of the bunkers around the shrine as a motive to disrupt the Amarnath pilgrimage. Never before any threat was made vis-à-vis Amarnath pilgrimage. Hizb-ul-Mujahadeen, too distanced itself from HUA’s call. The militants who attempted to barge their entry into the Hazratbal shrine were chased by the police guards. Those attempting to occupy the shrine was killed. There was something more than what appeared on the ground. But there was a clear indication that something had changed.. There were no long periods of “hartals” ( general strikes) nor curfews and not many protests.
In between, May 1995, to be precise, Charar-Sharief was burnt. Who did that and why, the answers appeared only few days later that too in Peshhawar in Pakistan, where Mastgul, which had become the icon of the resistance in Kashmir, because it were his men who had occupied the town, was given a rousing reception. The Indian army had laid siege of the town. But when it was asked: why the shrine and town were not saved and how come Mastgul and his men were able to escape, the answer by the then Corps Commander of 15 corps was baffling: “ neither army was there to protect the town and the shrine nor it was there to check Mastgul.
On June 25, the Valley worked to another sad news that the revered shrine of Peer Dastgeer was burnt, many feared the worst, but the way situation was handled by the Jammu and Kashmir Police, demonstrated that there were ways to do the things. And to borrow Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s words, separatists played a “constructive role” this time. The question that arises is, can’t separatists and mainstream leaders play the same constructive role in resolving other issues, without the tragic backdrop of a gutted shrine.
Lastupdate on : Mon, 2 Jul 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Mon, 2 Jul 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Tue, 3 Jul 2012 00:00:00 IST
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