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Track II: With funds flowing from Pakistan, can Hurriyat be trusted with talks

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New Delhi, June 24: Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Satyapal Malik said last week that it was encouraging to see the readiness by the Hurriyat Conference (M) for talks. The faction led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said that it was always in favour of talks as a means of resolution.

Malik said that the Hurriyat leaders who had once shut the doors on Ram Vilas Paswan were not ready for talks and this was an encouraging sign. It is interesting to note that the readiness by the Hurriyat (M) comes in the wake of a major crackdown by the security forces and also the National Investigation Agency, which is probing a series of cases relating to terror funding in which the Separatists of Kashmir are involved.

Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Satyapal Malik and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq

There were several attempts made by the Indian government in the past many years to speak with the Separatists. This was known as Track II diplomacy, but the fact of the matter is that it always failed. The current dispensation has not shown much interest in Track II and feels that the problem will only be solved if terrorism is wiped out and the youth brought to the mainstream.

The problem lies in the manifesto of the Hurriyat, which was printed in Rawalpindi in 1993. As per this, Pakistan and given instructions to create trouble in the Valley and also undertake an armed struggle. There have been several instances to show that the Hurriyat has never been on board with India.

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Sayeed Ali Shah Geelani had supported the Huzbul Mujahideen. Although Sajjad Lone had come out of the Hurriyat and contested the elections as an independent, his brother Bilal is still a part of the Hurriyat. The locals of Kashmir do not always lean towards the Hurriyat. They have been identified as the ones who organize stone pelting, derail peace and call for bundhs every now and then.

The other factor is the lack of unity within the Hurriyat. The NIA too in its most recent investigation learnt that the Hurriyat was a divided house over the allocation of funds. Masarat Alam, a stone pelter turned Separatist had spoken about the lack of unity over money within the Hurriyat.

There are ego clashes between the leaders and this has led to multiple splits. There are factions that are headed separately by Sayed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwiaz Umar Farooq and Shabir Shah. While Geelani appears to be the only one active the rest have been accused of living in palatial bungalows and doing nothing much about the cause they were funded for in the first place.

This has been a major stumbling block for any government and to bring all these persons on board has been an impossible task.

Air Marshal (Retd), B K Pandey tells OneIndia that in 1996, he had done a thesis on the Kashmir issue.

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We need to reverse the process of partition, if not in terms of the boundaries at least in spirit. There are many in Pakistan who are not supportive of the conflict. The poor man in Kashmir who relies on tourism for his daily bread is not supportive of the conflict.

In both Kashmir and Pakistan there are political establishments who use the crisis as a plank. Just being anti other party provides that plank. The Kashmir issue has in fact made many rich.

There is so much being funded on both sides as many benefit for this conflict. I feel that we need to open up the education system to the children in Pakistan who are madrasa trained, Air Marshal B K Pandey also points out.

The money trail discovered by the NIA shows that the funds are deeply infested into outfits such as the Hurriyat, Jammu-Kashmir Liberation Front, Islamic Students Front, Hizbul Mujahideen, Jaish-e-Mohammad and Jamiat ul-Mujahideen.

Moreover over the years the Separatists have only benefited from not talking and prefer using up the money given by Pakistan for their personal purposes.

Intelligence Bureau officials tell OneIndia that the money is being used for various purposes. There is a considerable amount that goes into funding their own lavish lifestyles.The ISI which orchestrates this entire racket does not mind these persons living in lavish bungalows as long as they keep the fire going. Investigations had found that a considerable amount of the money had been used to fuel the 2010 unrest in J&K too.

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