This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Munawar. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

Has The Hurriyat Lost The Plot In Kashmir?

More from Munawar

On May 20, 2017, a mainstream media channel ‘distilled’ the meaning of the Hurriyat Conference (HC) into a ‘business machine’, with their sting operation “Villains of Valley”. Taking the garb of a corporate manager, the media channel’s undercover reporter unmasked the ‘dirty game’ played by the HC with innocent Kashmiris.

In the video, the provincial president of the HC, Nayeem Khan purportedly confesses to receiving funds from across the border to instigate violence and bring chaos to the valley. However, after the video was made public, he contested the veracity of the sting, saying that the tapes in question were ‘doctored‘. He stated this when he came back from a period of brief hibernation.

The sting video must have been quite a blow to the thousands of Kashmiri people, who prioritise their freedom struggle over their daily hardships. Many of them starve while protesting against the Indian occupation of Kashmir on the streets. In such a scenario, where a major chunk of population considers such uprisings as sacred, there are some self-proclaimed leaders who derive personal benefits from these.

As the news spread across Kashmir, the head of the HC, Syed Ali Shah Geelani suspended Nayeem Khan from the party, almost immediately. However, while doing this, he also termed the Indian media as ‘biased and untrustworthy’ and said that the ‘baseless’ reportage was intended to mislead the international community and drag Pakistan into their ‘frivolous game’.

Nayeem Khan addressing a press conference on May 20, 2017 in Srinagar, India
Nayeem Khan (Photo by Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

This is interestingly contradictory. If the Indian media indulged in fake reportage, why was Naeem Khan suspended in the first place?

It has been 24 years since the ‘failures’ of an armed struggle laid the cornerstone of the Hurriyat Conference (HC). Projecting itself as the custodians of azaadi, it brought apathy to the state. Despite claiming to be a leader of the people, which guides society in the right direction, its actions and decisions have always been influenced by certain incidents. Not surprisingly, the HC makes its decisions generally after such incidents. The civilian killings by armed forces is followed by a strike call. The death of the commander of a terrorist organisation is met with interminable strike calls. But, ironically, the killing of a lieutenant rank officer like Ummar Fayaz is not protested, at all.

What does a strike call do?

Well, for some organisations, it could be a means to earn lots of money – but for a common Kashmiri, it has invariably downed their spirits. Not only have these strikes degraded the very fundamental structure of the financial establishment, they are also prime reasons why Kashmir is producing millions with limited intellectual development, who rigorously hold the view that a stone can shake the pillars of this advanced and competitive world. The question is, would this intellect-ridden society survive before people armed with the best brains and ingenious minds?

While the HC always urges the people of Kashmir not to participate in the state and union elections, its leader is a three-time-MLA, who has represented the Sopore constituency from 1972 to 1987. Also, the Hurriyat’s top leadership is always advising the Kashmiris to stop sending their children to army schools, alleging that these institutions are alienating the next generation from their religion and culture. The HC also often urges Kashmir’s youth to abandon their studies and instead volunteer for a bigger cause. Paradoxically, it does this while their own children live luxurious and comfortable lives, both overseas and in Kashmir.

In December 2016, Geelani’s grandson, Anees Ul Islam secretly joined Sher-e-Kashmir International Convection Complex (SKICC) as a research officer, with an annual salary of more than ₹12 lakh. Anees is the son of Altaf Fantoosh, Geelani’s son-in-law and an executive member of Hurriyat G, whose house was raided by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) in the follow-up to the sting operation. Anees’ recruitment would have remained a secret, had it not been exposed by a Times of India report in March 2017.

 Syed Ali Shah Geelani arrives at Regional passport office to fill passport details for travel documents on June 5, 2015 in Srinagar, India
Syed Ali Shah Geelani (Photo by Waseem Andrabi/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Geelani’s son, Nayeem, who had blamed army-run schools for ‘indoctrinating’ Kashmiri youths, is a medical practitioner in Rawalpindi. Moreover, Mariyam Andrabi, sister of the head of the radical Dukhtran-e-Millat Asiya Andrabi lives in Malaysia, along with her family.

This is but a small insight into the financial and social lives of the kith and kin of Hurriyat leaders. As is evident, Geelani’s son, daughter and other relatives are all living prosperous lives. While the other HC leaders may be tortoises in this ‘race’, they are also steadily being provided with a lot of decent opportunities.

Consequently, the Hurriyat Conference has lost its status, and is now equivalent to a ‘hartal machine’, constantly giving calls for illegitimate bandhs. However, they should internalise the fact that despite being an amalgamation of several ‘intelligent’ heads, they have pathetically failed to give a certain direction to the freedom struggle. And now, with the revelation that the blood of Kashmiri people is being ‘sold’ for a petty amount of money, their relevance to the freedom struggle has reached its nadir.


Image Source: Abid Bhat/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
You must be to comment.

More from Munawar

Similar Posts

By Anusha S


By Palkin Lohia

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below