Carefully observe the events since 2008 and ask yourselves when has Hurriyat Conference been at the centre of the valleys political behavior? When do the people look up to them? The answer is obvious; in the times of unrest. Once the things settle down their activism suddenly seems to take a back seat. Suggesting the onus lies on the common people and not the leadership. The leadership can only afford to wait until another spontaneous uprising is either provoked by the state or initiatedby the people.
In conflict zones political analysis is a tough ask. The margin of error is almost nonexistent especially when the discourse focuses on the role of political players. Honestly, the idea of neutrality in political discourses is an absurd demand but balancing your views is an art.
Keep this in perspective while we discuss the non electoralpolitics i.e. Hurriyat Conference an its role in the political landscape of our state. This is in response to their recent exhibit of political accountability viz. grievances and suggestions. However this doesn’t imply that they are the specific audiences of the content.
In their defense the Hurriyat may argue the absence of political space amid an onslaught by the state apparatus. But how could they expect that the state won’t do what they are supposed to do? Hurriyat needs to redefine its activism. Using religious platforms to communicate doesn’t mean activism. A it confines the audience. B it drastically reduces the participation of youth in activism. They must recognize the population is not homogeneous besides the fact that they are not supposed to be the representatives of religious people only. While they can continue with the existing “activism” but the shift to liberal paradigm which sees sports, arts and cultural events as agents to educate must be given prominent place. Spark it. The phenomenon is expected. Since this doesn’t invite violence,voluntary organization and participation is on cards especialfrom those who has previously been absent.
Secondly, it is essential to realize that the loss of human life and the increasing number of people left disabled as a result of the state action is taking toll on the aspect of equality in our society. These are not just numbers, they are actual people. Branding their “contribution” as sacrifice is easy but taking care and sharing responsibility is the actual task.
Sayyid Adil Hassan, an independent journalist and researcher who extensively deals with the Kashmir Conflict sums an ordeal of the victims, “Most of the victims are economically below poverty level. Especially when a bread earner of a family is killed, he leaves behind his children and a widow often accompanied by aged parents.” Post 2016 uprising, the researcher visited all the affected families and comes up with the horrific realities of our society.
He says,” While I was interviewing the widows, some of themadmitted to receiving financial support from Hurriyat and other social organizations but added that the financial support invited more trouble. Many revealed that their in-laws are forcefully trying to take the custody of their children and are asking them to leave. Some of these women are orphans. Ironically, in some cases the dispute was taken care of by the state police. There are students orphaned in the recent violence who are unable to arrange money for their books.”
In a scenario as such the issue of financial assistance at the societal level needs an overhaul. Although the assistance is largely charity based and people are readily donating for the cause but it is essential to recognize that the challenge is huge. Hurriyat must institutionalize the financial assistance program and proper mechanism must be put in place to provide relief to the victims. Besides this the situation on ground undoubtedly raises the question marks on the sincerity of the Hurriyat’s top leadership. How can they enroll their wards in some of the valley’s most expensive institutions at a time when the wards of “martyrs” are unable to afford their textbooks?
The question doesn’t imply that they are using illegal wealth. However, it does imply that they aren’t responsive to the situation on ground. The leaders are supposed to set the examples. Others can only then follow the path. The idea is to cut the unnecessary expenses. The saved amount can be utilized for the education and welfare of the orphans. The equality among the children at the societal level is to be achieved and it is time to look beyond our own families. In any case there is no empirical evidence to suggest that these expensive avenues of education are highly productive. However there is empirical evidence that suggests other way around.
These micro changes in the ways things are managed are necessary. If Hurriyat is the people’s movement then it is essential to put considerable focus on the people. The recent surge in the killings if continues at this pace will eventually put the people in tight spot not necessarily due to the states tough policy but due to the lack of societies response to the emerging challenges.