Being head of the united Hurriyat, he should have spoken to the all-party delegation.
By MAJID HYDERI
Guests need to be treated generously, according to Islamic etiquette.
For Muslims, this teaching holds significance, essentially because illustrious Prophet Muhammad said: “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let them treat their guest generously.”
Call it sinful or not, but Kashmir’s senior separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who strives for the creation of an “Islamic Republic” in the state, has just missed the opportunity to treat guests generously, at least in the case of the all-party delegation of members of Parliament who knocked on his door on September 4, at the start of their two-day visit to the restive Valley.
Senior MPs from the Opposition, including Sitaram Yechury, D Raja, Sharad Yadav and Asaduddin Owaisi, who have been religiously highlighting the Kashmir crisis, stood right at the main entrance of Geelani’s Hyder Pora home in Srinagar.
Surrounded by hordes of mediapersons tracking their every movement, it was truly an awkward moment for the MPs, as they stood silently waiting for the main gate to open.
“We’ll respond to all your queries after meeting Geelani sahib,” Yechury told curious reporters, even as a few more MPs arrived to queue up.
But after a few minutes of waiting patiently, the reply from inside the locked gate was shocking. “Sorry, Geelani sahib cannot meet you.”
The guests, who had come to meet the veteran separatist leader in their personal capacity, could have been invited inside at least to be courteously offered a glass of water, it not necessarily for tea or talks.
The MPs from the Opposition, who are nowhere directly responsible for the situation in Kashmir, or for detention of the separatists, they should not have been treated so by the prospective host.
The MP from Hyderabad, Owaisi, has been so vocal for the cause of the people of Kashmir that he was recently left red-faced by Muzaffar Hussain Beg, MP from the ruling People’s Democratic Party, during an all-party meeting in New Delhi.
While Owaisi complained that people were at the receiving end – at least 66 people have died and over 10,000 wounded in street protests – Beg defended the state government, saying that security forces were being provoked by the unruly mobs, particularly women.
Leftist MPs like Yechury and D Raja, during a debate on Kashmir in Parliament, openly criticised the state government for use of pellet guns, saying it was even not used by the aggressive Israelis on Palestinians.
What more support from MPs should we expect? Should they raise pro-Azadi slogans in Parliament as a confidence-building measure?
In keeping with his previous meeting with the visiting parliamentary delegates, during the 2010 unrest, when Geelani had interacted with Owaisi, Yechury and others in the presence of mediapersons, he could well have met them again to express his dismay.
If his incarcerated separatist colleagues, including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Muhammad Yasin Malik and Shabir Shah, courteously expressed their inability to hold talks with the visiting delegates and thanked the latter for their visit to the detention centres, Geelani could have put forth his argument more decently, for presently he is the main leader of the united Hurriyat.
Just last week, Mirwaiz and Malik, in separate statements from jail, chose Geelani as the leader till their release. So the octogenarian leader should have behaved more responsibly than pronounce “triple talaq” against talks.
Logically, one cannot look ahead to a solution to the Kashmir issue without the active support of Parliament and the Indian civil society.
Though this time the Congress, the Left and other parties in the Opposition have cornered the central and state government on the Kashmir crisis, the Valley has lost an opportunity to convey its argument only because Geelani remained hesitant to open his door.
There’s no denying the fact that the arrogant Mehbooba Mufti-led government in the state, which caged separatists and also did no groundwork for the delegation’s visit, has no right to ask why the pro-freedom leadership didn’t talk to the MPs.
But on the wider canvas of Kashmir politics, a question will always remain. Why did a politico-Islamic leader, who rarely fails to quote the Quran and Hadith in his speeches, forget the Islamic tradition of treating guests?
Extracted from dailyo