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MAULANA MOHAMMAD ABBAS ANSARI
Chief Parton Ittihadul Muslimeen
 

Jammu & Kashmir has been in the news generally for the last six decades and it has been aflame from the last twenty years which witnesses brutalization and dehumanization of Kashmir. The "Paradise on earth" has turned into hell for its own inhabitants. The people are being hunted, hounded and humiliated in their own land by the Indian security forces. Indiscriminate killings, Torture, Rape, Molestation, Plunder, Arson, Custodial killings beside illegal and unlawful arrests, have become the order of the day over since January 1990 when people of Kashmir started an open revolt against India to press their demand for the achievement of the right of self determination. The United Nations security council in its resolution 47,51,80,98 & 122, and the United Nations Commission of India and Pakistan resolutions of 13 August 1948 and 5 January 1949 have already mandated that the final disposition of Jammu & Kashmir would be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people expressed through an impartial plebiscite under the auspices of the United Nations. After five decades this pledge remains unfulfilled. The Indian occupation continues and Indian authorities continue to brutalize the people of Jammu & Kashmir.

The Kashmir's started their struggle much earlier than the rest of sub continent had done so. It was in 1931 that the Kashmiri’s gave a clear shape to the aims & objectives of their struggle and in the struggle they made lots of sacrifices. Even as the sub continent achieved independence in 1947, the movement for freedom in Kashmir became a victim of mollified designs of Indian National Congress, British diplomacy, Dogra ruler and above all the short sighted and selfish leadership.

Hojatul Islam Maulana Mohammad Abbas Ansari, born on Aug 17th 1936 in capital city Srinagar, in a respectable family called by the name of Ansaris. This family of academics and scholars has been recognized for their religion-political services since the centuries. He completed his secondary education in a high school of his locality in Srinagar. He left for further studies to Lucknow, the centre of Islamic Theological School in India in 1950. After spending years in Lucknow he went for higher studies to holy city of Najaf (Iraq), the highest seat of learning in Islamic world, in 1954. He mastered in Arabic literature, Philosophy, Hadith & Tafseer, Islamic Jurisprudence & Political Science. After eight year study in Iraq he returned to Kashmir and started his religion-political obligations and became a most active member of all organizations formed for this purpose. Soon after his return from Iraq he succeeded in discovering the cause of prevailing mental lethargy and took positive steps to eliminate it. He felt the reform was necessary not only in academic field but also in political field. In his quest for forging unity among the people of the valley particularly Muslim, Maulana floated the influential party called "Jammu & Kashmir Ittihadul-Muslimeen"(JKIM) (Unity of Muslims) with the main object of keeping the various sects of Muslims united and fight the divisive forces. JKIM also worked for the political, Social and economic welfare of the Muslims and demanded a UN supervised plebiscite in Kashmir. It organized various seminars and conventions which called for the union of the divided parts of Kashmir and holding of plebiscite in accordance with the UN resolutions of 1948 - 49.

Maulana Abbas believes that religion and politics are inseparable and for a clean politics Islam provides the best teachings, but at the same moment he is against exploiting religion for materialistic benefits which true Muslims should abhor. Among the definite goals of Maulana is a strong and united Muslim community as he believes that freedom requires unity of all masses and a support of all classes. He made it a main purpose of his life to bring Muslims on a single platform and establish a moment that would safeguard their future and revive Muslim ideals.

The Maulana was among the founder members of the “State Plebiscite Front”. It was he who vehemently opposed the holding state political convention in 1967-68 and described it as deviation from the path of truth and reminded the participants that real solution to Kashmir Problem is in the right of self-determination. State political convention was called at Mujahid Manzil, Srinagar to deliberate the future of Jammu & Kashmir. In his paper which was read in the convention Maulana Abbas stressed for the right of self determination. This stand was objected by Sheikh Abdullah & his allies who were present in convention. Maulana Abbas staged a walk out from the convention in protest against the policies of Sheikh Abdullah. This Ideological stand saw him again behind the bars. During 1971 Indo-Pak conflict he once again advocated confinement of right of self determination to the people of Kashmir and to silence the voice he was arrested.

After Indira Gandhi-Sheikh Abdullah accord of February 1975 the Plebiscite Front was wound up and Sheikh Abdullah revived his National Conference. Maulana Ansari along with his abide Hakim Mohammed Yousuf met Sheikh Abdullah in Kotla Lane, New Delhi and appealed him not to let the sacrifices of Kashmir's go waste. He apprised Sheikh that Kashmiri’s have sacrificed a lot from 1947 to 1974 for their right of self determination and their sacrifices can not be bargained for Chief Ministership. It was unfortunate that Sheikh Abdullah paid deaf ear to the request of Maulana. He signed the accord with Indira Gandhi and became the Chief Minister of the State. Maulana opposed this accord tooth and Nail and described it as unacceptable to the people of the state. Consequent upon the signing of the accord, the Maulana brought all the people of Identical Ideology on a single political platform and declared creation of Peoples United Front to work against the sell out. The youth turned violently against Sheikh Abdullah and there was an uproar through out the state against this criminal breach of trust by the Sheikh. The then Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto gave a call for strike on the 28 February to protest against the accord and due to the hard efforts of Peoples United Front the strike was total and telling.

The period 1975 -85 witnessed the continuous struggle of Maulana Abbas against the occupationists and brutalities and atrocities of their puppet regimes in Kashmir. Sheikh Abdullah occupied the ruling chair which marked the repression and rapacity. He gagged the press and invoked the provisions of notorious "Public Safety Act" in 1977 to silence dissent. Maulana Abbas played the role of opposition leader when it was mandatory for a politician to seek blessings from Sheikh Abdullah. During this period he always stood for the right of self determination and launched the campaign against liquor trade in Kashmir. Ruling regime took strong opposition to these activities and Maulana was again detained and charged with mutiny and conspiracy against the Indian government. Trial was conducted in a closed room in central jail, Srinagar.

Taking advantage of their feudal and autocratic laws New Delhi installed Mr.Jagmohan as Governor of state in 1984. Persistent denial of democracy and steady erosion of constitutionally guaranteed autonomy under Jagmohan's period paved the way for the total collapse of pro Indian political parties. At this juncture Maulana Abbas exposed India’s intentions towards Kashmir and unveiled the imperialistic face if India in numerous crowded public meetings which strengthened the anti-India sentiments in the minds of people particularly the youth of Kashmir. Day after day his voice pieced the hurt of enemy like an arrow and his endeavor lit sparks in Muslim combatants. On the other hand Maulana assembled Muslim scholars, politicians and parties from all sects and sections on a single platform named "Muslim United Front (MUF)", on the fundamental issue of strengthening Muslim community. Its stance on Kashmir was clear and unambiguous; that it has been occupied by fraud and brute force and its people had yet to exercise their right of self determination. Maulana was selected conveyor of the Front. In 1987 Front accepted the challenge of the then chief Minister Farooq Abdullah to fight elections of state assembly to show the world that kashmiri’s does not consider itself to be a part of India emotionally. Although all the previous elections of the state legislature were massively rigged by the pro-Indian ruling parties, front fought elections. This election was the proverbial last straw for the people of valley. The elections were brazenly and massively rigged and the Front candidates, their election agents and supporters were ruthlessly prosecuted. They were jailed and tortured. The front candidates were declared defeated by heavy margins and National Conference-Congress Alliance formed a coalition government in the state. This was the turning point in the history of Kashmir which culminated in armed rebellion against Indian authority. The front supporters particularly the youth who were harassed and tortured during and after elections, switched over to the part of militancy which changed the situation dramatically. India retaliated inhumanly by planned massacre of people, burning alive of human beings, indefinite curfews, illegal raids and searches, arrests and detentions, interrogation and torture, thievery and extortion, molestation and rape, humiliation of young and old, discretion of mosques and graveyards and destruction of human habitation and business establishments. They imposed censorship on press, banned political parties and arrested political and religious leaders in order to subvert any move that would organize and provide leadership to the movement.

Maulana Abbas was arrested on April 13, 1990 under notorious "public safety act" and lodged in Srinagar's infamous Badami Bagh contonment interrogation centre. After a month of interrogation he was put in Jammu central jail from where he was exiled to jodhpur in western India. In this jail he was denied basic human requirements, no body was allowed to visit him, even the lawyers of Jammu and Kashmir bar association were not permitted and were forced to leave the state. From Jodhpur Maulana was shifted to infamous Tihar jail, New Delhi and finally to heavily guarded Mehrolli BSF camp, some 25 km from New Delhi.

After two years of detention Maulana was released along with his political companions like Abdul Gani Lone, Prof.Abdul Gani, Shabir Shah, Syed Ali Geelani and Qazi Nisar Ahmed. Soon after his release speaking to newspersons at a press conference in Srinagar, Maulana said, "The State of Jammu and Kashmir is a disputed territory and has been occupied by force. The people of Kashmir have always resisted peacefully and fought spasmodically against alien domination. They are participating in a well organized movement. Govt. of India must realize that no amount of security forces and their unjustifiable firings, Killings, Mass arrests can work. Our determination to achieve our goal will not cool down, come what may. The people Kashmir know that the greatest power in the world, the Almighty God is behind them and he would deliver them from present crisis. We will continue our fight for human and fundamental rights and also for political independence, economic emancipation and social justice till we succeed.

Kashmir's are not prepared to accept any solution imposed on them from outside. The only workable solution will be on which they must be free to decide themselves. A peaceful solution of Kashmir issue would ensure peace and prosperity to the region and would promote regional cooperation, stability and harmony. Let the people of goodwill and humanity stand by Kashmir's in their struggle.”

After his release from jail Maulana Abbas along with his other colleagues has tried to give the right direction to the independence movement. He started organizing different political, religious, social and humanitarian organizations and played an outstanding role in the formation of "All Parties Hurriyat (Liberation) Conference (APHC)". APHC was founded in 1993 to unite various political parties of Jammu & Kashmir demanding the right of self-determination. This forum provides a common platform and guidance to the ongoing freedom movement under a collectively and unanimous political leadership. Maulana Abbas represents "Ittihadul-Muslimeen" in its seven-member Executive council, the chief policy make and executive body of A.P.H.C.

The All Parties Hurriyat Conference kept up its campaign for a just solution to the Kashmir issue, and continued, at every level, to discharge its duty of guiding the Kashmiri people and articulating their aspirations. The ruling clique, perceiving the historic alliance as a threat, was always on the lookout for a chance to break it and crush all efforts aimed at resolving the Kashmir issue. Putting these plans into practice, the entire frontline leadership of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference was arrested once again in September 1999 and imprisoned in the infamous Jodhpur Central Jail. Along with his colleagues, Maulana Abbas Ansari spent 8 long months in the notorious prison but did no waver in his commitment. Sensing that Kashmiri’s were about to erupt into violence at the continued detention of their leaders, the puppet government of the state released the top-ranking leadership but kept other activists in jail.

After his release, Maulana Abbas undertook an overseas tour to present the freedom movement of Kashmir in its correct perspective and highlight the atrocities being perpetrated on Kashmiris. In United Kingdom, Iran and Saudi Arabia he apprised the leadership and the public about the struggle going on the state and the repression unleashed by the Indian security forces. Maulana also gave a comprehensive presentation of the Kashmir cause at the OIC meet in Casablanca, Morocco and Doha, Qatar in November 2000 respectively. The government of India impounded his passport to prevent him from traveling abroad to champion the Kashmir cause. Maulana Abbas was one of the senior Hurriyat leaders to meet the Pakistan president, General Pervez Musharraf, when the latter visited India. He thanked the president for meeting the Kashmiri leadership despite intense Indian pressure and for taking a realistic stand. Maulana also met Iranian President Mohammad Khatami in New Delhi and apprised him about the political situation of Kashmir and invited Iranian government to mediate to resolve Kashmir issue.

Resuming the process of interaction in the valley on his return, Maulana Ansari toured towns and villages to address public meetings and come to the aid of the victims of state terrorism.

The APHC on July 12, 2003 unanimously elected Maulana Abbas Ansari, as its Chairman at a meeting of the Executive Committee members. Out of the seven constituents, representatives of six parties were present at the meeting. Abbas Ansari was the fourth chairman of the Hurriyat who replaced Abdul Ghani Bhat on the latter’s completion of his three-year term. Ansari is also, incidentally, the first Shia to head the Hurriyat.

As the true voice of the people of Kashmir and the person who represents the changing mood in Kashmir, Maulana Ansari headed the Hurriyat at this crucial juncture. Soon after taking over as Chairman, he called for an immediate ceasefire between the security forces and the militants saying that the Kashmiri people had suffered enough for over a decade and need to get out of the present phase of fear. He reiterated that APHC firmly believe that armed struggle has to be replaced by dialogue now. He also suggested the re-opening of the Uri-Rawalpindi road so that the people of both parts of Kashmir could meet their kin. “The people on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC) have been craving to meet each other. When India and Pakistan can resume the New Delhi-Lahore bus service, there is no harm in reopening the Uri-Rawalpindi road”.

During his tenure as Chairman of APHC Maulana Abbas initiated a dialogue process with Indian government on the basis that it should be unconditional, level based and exclusively centered on Kashmir problem. An APHC delegation led by Maulana Abbas Ansari and comprising of Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Bilal Ghani Lone and Fazal-ul-Haq Qureshi negotiated with deputy prime minister of India L K Advani in New Delhi on 22nd Jan 2004. The APHC delegation stressed that an honorable and durable solution should be found through dialogue. It was agreed that meeting was the first significant step in the dialogue process and a step-by-step approach would lead to the resolution of all outstanding issues relating to Jammu and Kashmir. The APHC delegation was committed to the enlargement of the dialogue process to cover all regions of Jammu and Kashmir and concerns of all communities.

After first round of talks in a joint statement issued by the Indian government and APHC, it was declared that:

India will safeguard the security of all people and stop the violation of Human rights.

Rapid review would be undertaken to examine the cases of those held in detention.

The United States welcomed the talks between New Delhi and APHC leaders. A State Department official in Washington said "We welcome the progress that is being made.” Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf termed these talks as "a very good beginning".

The next round of APHC discussion with Indian government took place in the latter part of March.”

On May 21,2004 in a crowded Public gathering at martyrs graveyard in Iddgah, Srinagar Hurriyat chairman Maulana Abbas Ansari announced that he was resigning his post in an effort to bring about the reunification of the coalition's factions. Organisation's founder-chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, was asked to work towards restoring the Hurriyat's original executive council and send invitations to all the pre-split executive council members.

JKIM : First & largest Party of Kashmiri Shias

Copyright 2008-Ittihadul Muslimeen, Karanagar,Srinagar,Kashmir,190010