| Ansari arrives for the emergency executive meeting in Srinagar on Monday as his supporters shout slogans. (PTI)
Srinagar, Sept. 8: Four executive members of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference have served notices to 12 general council members who yesterday expelled recently-elected chairman and senior Shia leader Moulvi Abbas Ansari.
“The All Parties Hurriyat Conference executive decided to issue notices to the general council members who yesterday met and removed the chairman. Their decision is unconstitutional. Members of the general council cannot hold us hostage,” chief Hurriyat spokesman Abdul Gani Bhat said at the conference headquarters here today. Bhat’s own party, the Muslim Conference, was expelled yesterday.
“They cannot hold the peace process and future dispensation of the state hostage. They cannot do it,” Bhat added. “Those who indulged in indiscipline will have to face action. We will call an explanation asking how they violated the constitution.”
The absence of three important constituents at today’s meeting has further eroded the executive’s authority. Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik and representatives of the Jamaat-e-Islami and the People’s League did not attend the meeting, which had been called by a Hurriyat executive under pressure to stamp its authority.
Only four executive members met today at the headquarters under Ansari’s chairmanship to discuss what Kashmir observers say is a “serious development”.
Those attending the meeting included Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq, chairman of the Awami Action Committee, Sajjad Gani Lone of the People’s Conference, founded by slain separatist leader Abdul Gani Lone, and Bhat. The People’s Conference was also expelled yesterday by the council members.
Yesterday, the Hurriyat suffered a vertical split after 12 major constituents expelled Ansari and formed a five-member interim committee headed by Muslim League chairman Massarat Alam. The committee was asked to contact separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who was recently expelled from the Hurriyat executive, to lead the conglomerate.
Bhat today denied that the Hurriyat had “deviated from its path”. “We are devoted to a peaceful resolution of the Kashmir issue and we seek purposeful dialogue involving India, Pakistan and the people of Kashmir,” Bhat said.
“Talking is not deviation. We had decided to hold bilateral dialogue with India, and later with Pakistan. But let me tell you, we don’t dance to the tune of either India or Pakistan. We are guided by the red-hot blood of Kashmiris. And had India refused us permission to hold talks with Pakistan we would never enter into a dialogue with New Delhi.”
“… Farooq has been authorised by the executive to hold talks with all groups in the general council. We will try to maintain the unity in the Hurriyat. I don’t know why they want to split it. It should not have happened when there is bloodshed everywhere. Even India tried to break the Hurriyat but failed,” Bhat said.
It would appear that the executive members chose not to expel the dissidents today because they want to test the political waters before having a showdown with the general council members.
Geelani had been denying that he planned to launch a party of his own after being expelled from the Hurriyat executive over his demand to expel the People’s Conference for allegedly fielding dummy candidates in last year’s Assembly elections.
At the time, not many political analysts would have guessed that Geelani had so many aces up his sleeves.