Masarat Alam will remain a non-starter in J&K thanks to Centre’s zero tolerance towards separatism
New Delhi, Sep 14: Six days after the passing away of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, his protege, the notorious Masarat Alam was appointed his successor. Masarat Alam Bhat, who is in jail was appointed as the chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference.
The APHC also appointed Shabir Ahmad Shah and Ghulam Ahmad Gulzar as vice chairmen. One of the key reasons behind appointed Alam as chairman is that he is a hardliner. He started off as a stone pelter and was later groomed by Geelani. He is said to have a good clout among the youth and could instigate violence in the Valley.
However the BJP led government in the Centre has a zero tolerance policy towards separatism and this has left these outfits redundant.
The separatist movement started to wane following the abrogation of Article 370 and Jammu and Kashmir being split into two Union Territories. The separatists have toned down their rhetoric since then and that was one of the main reasons none decided to claim the space left behind by Geelani. In that sense, one could say that the appointment of Alam is merely symbolic.
The very fact that Jammu and Kashmir remained peaceful when Geelani died itself is an indication that there are very few takers for the separatist movement. The situation remained peaceful despite the family alleging that Geelani's body was taken away by the police and he was given a quiet burial.
The Hurriyat's intent in appointing Alam was because he connects better with the youth. However experts tell OneIndia that they see Alam as a non-starter and the current dispensation would allow the situation to go out of control. The primary focus of the government is to get the political process rolling and hence it would ensure that separatism is kept at way. The Centre is not in favour of another discourse by the separatists in Jammu and Kashmir.
The zero tolerance policy towards separatism by the Centre has also instilled a sense of fear among the separatists. When there was talk that the Centre was planning on banning the Hurriyat, the signboard at its office in Srinagar went missing.
Alam came to prominence in 2010 when played a major role in the mass agitation. Since then he has spent most of his time in jail. He has been booked under the Public Safety Act 36 times and has 27 FIRs lodged against him. In March 2015 he was released and again arrested in April the same year on charges of sedition and waging war against the state. He is now in Tihar Jail for his role in the 2017 terror funding case which is being probed by the National Investigation Agency.
Alam during his interrogation had said that there is a rift within the Hurriyat over the use and collection of funds. Alam during his custodial interrogation, revealed that Pakistan based agents route the funds through hawala operators which were transferred to the separatist leaders including Geelani.