Tensions within a conflict
Contrary to what appears on the surface things are always in a flux in any conflict
MEHMOOD UR RASHID
Though in the wake of armed uprising political parties who had participated in the electoral politics almost disappeared from the scene, there were many groups that stayed back and negotiated with the emergent situation by being part of it. So there was an exception to the sort of exodus of political parties from Kashmir. These were the parties that joined the underground forces. And these were almost the same parties that had formed the joint opposition in the state Assembly elections of 1987, under the name of Muslim United Front. These parties later gathered to form different conglomerates to carry on the political activities in Kashmir. But these parties did not find it easy to station themselves in the violent grounds. There was a stringent contest between militant groups and the over ground separatist parties on the matter of who should follow whom. It was almost a direct contestation between political and violent.
In the very beginning there were indications that even a party like Jama’t-e-Islami, which had a significant influence on armed uprising, may not be allowed to operate in the emerging situation. It was probably a reason for those who had joined militancy under the impact of Jama’t-e-Islami, to come out openly in support of it. Things ultimately led to the announcement of Master Ahsan Dar, Chief Commander Operations of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, that Hizb was the military wing ( Fauji Bazoo) of Jama’t-e-Islami. Once this happened different alliances between over ground political networks and underground armed groups followed. This allowed the political structures to operate more comfortably. At the same time it became a source for the political contest. However, the contest between underground armed and over ground political did not go easily. It appeared in the later years more openly when militant organizations made manifest their desire to be considered as the centre of the mobilization around which all else would circumambulate. (Jamal, 1996: preface)
Formation of conglomerates
Nevertheless it was as early as 1990 that a political platform comprising almost a dozen parties came into existence. This was a clear indication that even in extreme times Kashmir wanted to go about politically. The overwhelming presence of underground armed organizations, enormous levels of violence consequent to clashes between militants and armed forces, arrests of the top rank leaders of this conglomerate, and an over all chocking of public spaces were decisively against this political platform. So it disappeared gradually over a period of two years. (Jamal, 1996: preface) This political platform was named Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.
But with the fading out of this political conglomerate formed in 1990, another broad based political platform came into existence. It was in 1992 that the talk of having another broad based political alliance gained momentum. On 27th December 1992 a meeting was arranged at Mirwaiz Manzil, party headquarter of Awami Action Committee. Presided over by Mirwaiz Omar Farooq, it was attended by “the representatives of various religious, social and political organizations”. A screening Committee was formed to look into the suggestions that came forth in the meeting. Finally, on 8th March 1993 a political platform christened All Parties Hurriyat Conference came into existence”. (Chatterjee, 2009: 492)
It was a clean indicator that Kashmir had the deep sense to follow things politically. With the passage of time all those who wanted to join the politics aimed at addressing the political urge of Kashmir came under this umbrella or worked as independent parties. “In the vacuum, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) – an alliance formed in 1993 – had consolidated itself behind the call for a three-option referendum: independence, accession to Pakistan or accession to India. The APHC was a broad coalition, containing some 38 parties and factions, some extreme, others moderate.” (Puri, 1990: 191-192)
More signs of political
Though for myriad reasons but there were certain important transitions from armed to political. Apart from some persons who left underground armed resistance and preferred politics as the means to achieve their targets, there were two significant moments in the post 1989 Kashmir, when the choice for political was made openly and with a sense of need. One was in mid 1993, when the “weakened JKLF ceased armed operations altogether” (Bose, 2007: 180), and another was in 1999 when Hizb-ul-Majahideen offered ceasefire. Since none of the two were received in ways that could encourage political participation, the result of it was that the underground armed resistance only became more furious and ferocious, proving the point that when the political spaces are denied completely violence remains the only response.
Though a different line altogether, it still makes a part of the larger script; parties that wanted to participate in elections and had fled the ground in 1990, resurfaced in mid nineties. With the State Assembly elections of 1996 National Conference came to power once again. And in 2002 elections a newly formed party by the name of People’s Democratic Party rose to power. Both these parties, even if for understandable political reasons had to talk about the political urge of Kashmir in their respective languages of Autonomy and self Rule. When nothing happened on this count, things again collapsed with the absence of meaningful political initiative in the backdrop.
What happened in 2008, and what is happening currently in Kashmir again points in the same direction; unless the political spaces are allowed to expand and accommodate the essential urge of Kashmir, violence is always lurking like a hidden dragon.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 10 Oct 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 10 Oct 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 11 Oct 2012 00:00:00 IST
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