By Ritu Sharma
NEW DELHI: In another summer of protests, 38 Kashmiri youth have lost their lives and over 3,100 have been reportedly injured, but the sons, daughters and siblings of the rabble-rousing leaders are conspicuous by their absence from the crowds. Junaid Qureshi, a rights activist and son of J&K Democratic Liberation Party Chairman and separatist leader Hashim Qureshi said, “If Jihad (guns and stones) is so pious, why don’t Kashmiri separatists or their children pick up guns? Why are their children tucked away in safe places?”
A little research would reveal that the children of the separatist leaders are in reality opting for education and career-oriented approaches rather than wielding guns/stones.
Syed Ali Shah Geelani, 86, hardline separatist leader of the conglomerate of the separatist parties in Jammu and Kashmir—All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC)—has not been able to convince his children of his ideology. “His elder son Nayeen Geelani and his wife Bajiya are practicing medicine in Rawalpindi (Pakistan) and his younger son lives in South Delhi. One of his daughters Farhat Geelani is a teacher in Jeddah and her husband is working as an engineer there,” sources said. None of his sons has intentions of following in his father’s footsteps.
All of Geelani’s grandchildren are studying in leading Christian missionary schools. His cousin Ghulam Nabi Fall is presently in London.
SAS Geelani is not the only leader, who has chosen to keep his children away from harm’s way.
Sarwar Yakub, son of the spokesperson of the Geelani-led faction of APHC Ayaz Akbar, is presently studying management in Pune. Another Hurriyat leader Abdul Aziz Dar alias General Moosa’s one son has studied Computer Applications and another is in the Animal Husbandry Department. General Moosa had earned the moniker for being the active member of the proscribed terrorist group of Hizbul in 1990s. He had played a crucial role in triggering and sustaining stone-pelting protests in Kashmir in 2010.
Asiya Andrabi heads the Dukhtaran-e-Millat (daughters of the nation). Since 1990s, she along with her husband Ashiq Husain Faktoo have been instrumental in setting up base for a ‘jihadist’ movement in Kashmir. Importance of education is not lost on Andrabi, who herself holds a degree in bio-chemistry. She has been a major detractor of Indian establishment, sought Indian passports for her sons to send them to Malaysia for studies.
“Her elder son Mohammad bin Qasim is pursuing Bachelor’s of Info Tech at Islamic University of Malyasia and her younger son Ahmad bin Qasim is studying in a Christian missionary school in the Valley,” sources added. Her sister Mariyam Andrabi is also settled in Malaysia.
Masarat Alam, the former top commander of pro-Pakistan terrorist outfit Hezbollah who joined APHC under Geelani in 2003, is said to be the architect of the 2008 Amarnath land agitation and 2010 unrest in the valley. The 48-year-old who comes from a businessman family is touted as the successor of Geelani. Even as education of Kashmir children is disrupted in the face of sporadic unrest, his children are said to be studying in “good schools” in Delhi.
Dr. Umer Farooq, the chairman of the moderate wing of Hurriyat Conference and ‘Mirwaiz’ (chief cleric) of Kashmir, has been married to a US citizen of Kashmiri origin. His sister Rabia Farooq, a doctor, is also reported to be living in the US.