India Intelligence Report

   The Decreasing Relevance of Hurriyat


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh defied terrorism and continued his roundtable discussions with various groups with Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) and proposed setting up 5 groups to consider various issues but vowed to fight terrorism from Pakistan.

Insisting that the J&K was the “top most priority” for his Government, he proposed the creation of 5 tracks of special groups which will initiate proposals that could resolve the main issues of the people of the State. The tracks proposed by Singh are:

  1. Evolve Confidence Building Measures (CBM) to improve the condition of people affected by militancy.

  2. Strengthen relations across Line of Control (LoC), increase goods traffic, and open up new routes such as Kargil-Skardu.

  3. Economic development, jobs generation, balanced development.

  4. Good governance, zero tolerance on rights violation, and strengthen the right to information.

  5. Strengthen Center-State ties, democracy, and secularism.

The PM noted that sub-regional and ethnic differences between the regions of J&K will be handled by the Center-State ties track. He was referring to the presence of various religions, ethnic groups, and geographical boundaries in the state. Jammu has a Hindu majority and larger than the Kashmir Valley. Leh has a Buddhist majority and is larger than Jammu. Kashmir Valley itself has 50% Sunni and the rest are divided into Shia, Gujjars, and Bakerwals. The Kashmiri Pandits were ethnically cleansed from the Valley in 1989 by the terrorists, but the Hurriyat claims that it was the then Governor Jagmohan who created the divisions and got the Hindus to migrate out of the Valley. Jagmohan has rejects this accusation vehemently.

Singh regretted that the so-called moderate political group Hurriyat Conference spurned the Government’s invitation to attend the roundtable. Instead of being a positive force behind the initiative, they chose not to attend because the conference was “overcrowded” and filled with “political hypocrites and renegades.” They also wanted to meet with the Prime Minister on the sidelines on a one-on-one basis. Thankfully, the Prime Minister’s Office declined to give this special treatment yet again. The Singh had met with the Hurriyat Conference in New Delhi earlier and had personally requested their presence at the roundtable.

Successive elections in J&K have attracted large populations to vote and in many cases, the people themselves have identified, caught, or handed over terrorists who were trying to stop the election process. Weary of terrorism, devoid of development, and missing out on the growth going on in the rest of the nation, Kashmiris have clearly indicated that they want to be part of the Indian democracy.

This is not the first time that the Hurriyat has lost the initiative. In 2001, they spurned multiple Indian requests   citing the most flimsy reasons. The ensuing Shah-Pant conversations between the two nations rendered the Hurriyat irrelevant at that point in time.

If the Hurriyat still wants to be relevant, they it is time they see the writing on the wall and participate in the process.