SRINAGAR: Senior separatist leader Prof Abdul Gani Bhat’s party - Muslim Conference (MC) - is in turmoil in Kashmir over his reported meeting with interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma.
Some disgruntled party leaders have revolted against Prof Bhat and removed him as party president but he has hit back by expelling them from the party.
Claiming himself to be acting chairman of Muslim Conference, Mohammed Sultan Magray on December 9 wrote a letter to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference, informing him about removal of Prof Abdul Gani Bhat as chairman of the party.
Muslim Conference is a constituent of Hurriyat led by Mirwaiz and Prof Bhat is executive member of the separatist conglomerate.
“As you know, former president of MC Prof Abdul Gani Bhat held a secret meeting with Government of India’s interlocutor on Kashmir, which is a cause of concern for the party and united separatist leadership. In this backdrop, an emergency meeting of office bearers of the party was held in Srinagar in which it was unanimously decided that Muhammad Sultan Magray will be the acting president, Manzoor-ul-Haq Bhat vice president, Mehraj-ud-Din general secretary of MC,” reads the letter written by Magray to Mirwaiz.
It further states that the party leaders have decided to follow the programmes of united separatist leadership and asked Mirwaiz to contact the acting president in future for all programmes.
While Magray is based in Srinagar, Manzoor was representative of Muslim Conference in Pakistan administered Kashmir.
However, in order to retain his grip on the party, Prof Bhat today hit back at the disgruntled leaders and expelled Magray, Manzoor and Mehraj from the basic membership of the party for anti-party activities.
“Magrey was an ex-CIK Branch Inspector from 1996----2000 and had been already expelled from Muslim Conference. He was expelled from the party in 2011,” Jehangir Bhat, spokesman of Muslim Conference and son of Prof Bhat told New Indian Express.
He said Manzoor, who was party’s representative in PaK, has also been expelled.
“Prof Bhat continues to be the chairman of the party and he will continue to be executive member of Hurriyat led by Mirwaiz,” Jehangir said.
Asked whether his father had met interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma, he said Prof Bhat did not meet the interlocutor.
“Two people from administration visited his residence on November 27 and told him that they want to facilitate his meeting with interlocutor Sharma. However, Prof Bhat told them that we have already decided not to meet him,” he said.
He, however, said Prof Bhat told them during five-minute meeting that they favour dialogue as it was the only option to resolve the Kashmir issue.
“He told them that Kashmir issue cannot be resolved through wars but by dialogue,” Jehangir said.
Meanwhile, sources said Mirwaiz has issued a show cause notice to Prof Bhat asking him to clear his position on media reports about his meeting with interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma.
“Prof Bhat should have abided by the JRL’s decision on no talks with Sharma. We believe in sincere and result oriented dialogue as a means of conflict resolution of Kashmir dispute but the talks have to include India, Pakistan and most importantly people of Jammu and Kashmir. Sharma’s interlocution process is an attempt to buy time and continue with status quo,” Mirwaiz has said.
After being appointed interlocutor by central government on October 23, Sharma has twice visited Jammu and Kashmir and met the mainstream politicians, traders, civil society members, youth, etc.
However, separatist leaders, traders bodies and civil society groups in Kashmir have refused to meet Sharma. The opposition National Conference leaders have also not met him during his two visits to the State.