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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Prof Gani retracts his remarks on UN resolutions

‘I never said resolutions are obsolete, irrelevant. I have the tape’

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jun 13: Having fallen in the eye of a storm in the Valley’s separatist camp over his controversial remarks regarding the Kashmir problem’s solution, senior Hurriyat leader Prof Abdul Gani Bhat has finally claimed that he had never dismissed the UN resolutions on Jammu & Kashmir as obsolete or irrelevant.

Even as the former Chairman of Hurriyat Conference did not release his personal clarification to the Press---either from his home or from his headquarters of Muslim Conference---a spokesman of the separatist amalgam claimed in a statement today that Prof Bhat had submitted his clarification. The Hurriyat spokesman said that, in his written as well as verbal clarification, Prof Bhat had denied having made a negative remark on the UN resolutions of 1948 and 1949.

According to the spokesman, Prof Bhat had made it clear in his explanation that he had neither dismissed the UN resolutions as obsolete nor irrelevant or impracticable. Bhat, he said, had only said at the public meeting in Sopore that the UN resolutions were the “legal basis of the Kashmir dispute” which, sadly, had not been implemented in the last over six decades. Prof Bhat, according to the spokesman, felt pained that the phrases like ‘impracticable, irrelevant, obsolete and not viable’ had been attributed to him unfairly by media. He regretted that these had hurt his colleagues and followers in the separatist camp.

Prof Bhat, according to the Hurriyat spokesman, was speaking at the Executive Committee meeting of the Hurriyat at the amalgam’s headquarters at Rajbagh today.

According to reports carried invariably by Srinagar-based newspapers, Prof Bhat had addressed a public meeting at his hometown, Botengo, on Sopore-Bandipore Road on May 6th and dismissed the UN resolutions on Kashmir as obsolete, impracticable, irrelevant and not viable. He, according to reports, had asserted that the UN resolutions had never been implemented in the last 60 years nor would these be ever implemented in future in the process of finding a solution to the Kashmir dispute.

Prof Bhat’s purported clarification today came in the wake of deepening fissures in Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s faction of the Hurriyat. Immediately after Prof Bhat’s speech of May 6th appeared in local newspapers, a number of hardliners in the so-called moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference took umbrage over the “controversial remarks”. In their statements, separatist leaders like Shabir Shah, Nayeem Khan and Zaffar Akbar Bhat asserted that Prof Gani’s remarks were in “brazen violation” of the Hurriyat constitution. They demanded an inquiry and action, including expulsion from Hurriyat, against Prof Bhat. On two occasions, followers of different Hurriyat leaders came to blows at the amalgam headquarters as they shouted slogans and counter-slogans against each other.

Hurriyat Chairman, Mirwaiz Umar later instituted an inquiry. With today’s “clarification”, speculations of another split in the conglomerate have been set at rest, though a formal reaction from the rebellious group is still awaited.

In fact, making controversial statements and subsequently retracting them has been characteristic of a number of prominent separatist leaders in Kashmir. Significantly, Prof Bhat’s “clarification” has come after five weeks of his sustained silence vis-à-vis the no-holds-barred that remained underway over the purported statement made on May 6th. On no point of time did Prof Gani clarify, in the last over five weeks, that he had not “uttered a single word” against the UN resolutions.

Previously, Mirwaiz himself had withdrawn his remarks against the Jihadi militants days after these were published by Time magazine, nearly a decade ago. One of America’s most credible newspaper journalists and currently Africa Bureau Chief of the New York-based magazine, Alex Perry had taken and published the interview with Mirwaiz. It was at his weekly Friday sermon at Jamia Masjid in Srinagar that Mirwaiz denied having made any critical reference to the Jihadi militants. He claimed that he had actually held the counter-insurgent Ikhwanis responsible for swindling the Kashmir freedom funds---an explanation not swallowed by many in Srinagar.

Yet another separatist leader, who is now in mainstream electoral politics, had withdrawn his remarks against ISI months after he had held the Pakistani intelligence agency responsible for his father’s assassination. He later clarified that his outburst before television cameras was “impulsive, not real”.


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