Masarat Alam Bhat, the 45-year-old, is among the prominent Pro-freedom leaders of Jammu & Kashmir. He is the chairman of the Jammu Kashmir Muslim League (JKML) and the general secretary of All Parties Hurriyat Conference which is headed by veteran Pro-Freedom leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. Masrat Alam is considered to be Geelani’s confidant and one of his prime successors.
Being the alumnus of prestigious Tyndale Biscoe School, Masrat Alam after completing his graduation from Srinagar’s Sri Pratap College in science joined the political movement in 1987, when he was just 16. He participated in rallies of the Muslim United Front, an alliance of pro-freedom parties that contested the 1987 J&K elections in Kashmir.
On account of revolutionary activities, he has spent most of his time in prisons .He was dubbed as the prominent brains leading the Summer Agitation of 2010 and was in prison since 2010 until being released recently. In an exclusive interview with The News Kashmir Magazine, Masrat Alam talks to Rameez Makhdoomi.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh has said that he will ensure surveillance of Masarat Alam. Your take on this ?
Since we have committed ourselves to the cause of Freedom movement and plunged into running the freedom struggle we are under continuous surveillance, so the current talk of surveillance on me has no meaning at all.
In 2010 summer agitation of Kashmir in which about 115 boys were killed , Authorities and some Politicians blame you for these very killings. Your response on this?
We were just leading peaceful protests attended by lacs in favour of Kashmir dispute resolution and it was the Security forces who were holding gun and firing on protesters. Girls and Babies too were martyred by security forces during 2010 agitation. Even the Indian Parliamentary delegation that visited Kashmir observed that these killings by Security Forces were crimes against humanity.
Many critics state that pro-freedom leadership had gone in slumber after your arrest. Your viewpoint on this ?
No it is not like that. My forum is part of one of the Hurriyat Conference lead by veteran pro-freedom leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and whatever programme emerges from there we have to follow that.
J & K Police’s Former Top counterinsurgency Special Operations Group Officer, Ashiq Hussain Bukhari stating that Omar Abdullah offered him 2.5 million to kill Masarat Alam. How do you envisage this?
We have been time and again saying that thousands of people in Kashmir have been killed extra judicially by Security Forces and now a former Top Cop and Former SP Srinagar statement that he was told to carry out my fake encounter is a burning reality and vindicates pro-freedom leadership stand on extrajudicial killings and proves how lawlessness has been carried out in Kashmir brazenly .
Your critics say you could not change the 2010 Revolution into Resolution and the sacrifices went in vain. What is your response to this allegation?
You have to remember that even Indian freedom struggle took 190 years to reach destination or for that matter you read history of any other freedom struggle of the world it takes long time to accomplish goals . History teaches us it takes many decades and sometimes centuries for a movement to achieve its final goal.
Opponents of Pro-Freedom leadership state that the pro-freedom leaders play with the blood of youth of common masses for their political interests. How do you view the same accusations?
It is their allegation and allegations come our way in politics. This freedom struggle is of every class, every group of people of Kashmir and the bullet from security does not see who it kills. Even pro-freedom leadership has sacrificed a lot.
What is your take on lessening interest of World Community over Kashmir Dispute?
Day in and Day out the world community talks about Kashmir Dispute and the need to resolve the same and we are hopeful that soon the required atmosphere would be created by global community to solve Kashmir Dispute.
Pro- Freedom leadership is criticized that it has not been able to evolve the pro-freedom struggle and wants to exclude every community and now the latest talk and allegation being that this struggle for rights is excluding Shia community?
It is not just an allegation but it is an effort to divide people of Jammu & Kashmir to divert the attention from the real issue. When we talk about the political dispute of Jammu & Kashmir we talk of every citizen of this disputed area .Shias, Sunnis every community has rendered sacrifices in freedom movement of Kashmir. We have pro-freedom leadership continuously emerging from Shia community and they too have produced large chunk of martyrs in Kashmir freedom movement. There is nothing like Sunni or Shia in Kashmir freedom movement.
As a youth pro- freedom leader what strategy would you follow with reference to resistance movement in coming years?
Strategy would be devised by the Executive Council of Hurriyat lead by veteran pro-freedom leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and whatever programme evolves from there we will follow that.
Is Pro-Freedom leadership unhappy over the internal problems of Pakistan and secondly do you see same enthusiasm among people for struggle as it was in 2010?
We are not disappointed at all by the conditions in Pakistan .People are with same enthusiasm with the liberation struggle as they were in 2010.
Your message to people of Kashmir?
People should not get dejected and not in any way feel depressed. We as a browbeaten nation of Kashmir will soon gain success and achieve our noble objectives.