Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front
April 3, 1966 |
Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, India
|Political party||Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front|
|Spouse(s)||Mushaal Hussein Mullick|
Yasin Malik (born 1966) is a Kashmiri leader who advocates the separation of Kashmir from both India and Pakistan. He is the Chairman of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, which originally spearheaded armed militancy in the Kashmir Valley.[a]. Malik renounced violence in 1994 and adopted peaceful methods to come to a settlement on the Kashmir conflict.
Malik states that, as a young boy, he had witnessed violence carried out on the streets by the security forces. In 1980, after witnessing an altercation between the army and taxi drivers, he is said to have become a rebel. He formed a party called the Tala Party, which formed a revolutionary front, printing and distributing political materials and causing disturbances. His group was involved in attempting to disrupt the 1983 cricket match with West Indies in the Sher-i-Kashmir Stadium, disturbing National Conference gatherings in Srinagar and protesting Maqbool Bhat's execution. Malik was arrested and detained for four months.
After getting released in 1986, the Tala Party was renamed the Islamic Students League (ISL), with Malik as the general secretary. The ISL became an important youth movement. Among its members were Ishfaq Majeed Wani, Javed Mir, Mushtaq Ul Islam, Abdul Hameed Sheikh, Abdullah Bangroo, Ajaz Dar, Showkat Bakshi, Mehmood Sagar, Iqbal Gandroo, Noor Mohammad Kalwal, Firdous Shah, Shakeel Bakshi and Hilal A. War.
In the run up to the Legislative Assembly elections in 1987, the Islamic Students League led by Yasin Malik joined the Muslim United Front (MUF). It did not contest any seats because it did not believe in the constitution. But it took responsibility for campaigning for the MUF in all Srinagar constituencies. According to a spokesman of the Jamaat-e-Islami, all the parties that joined in the MUF were either pro-independence or pro-self-determination. According to another Jamaat member, the ISL was recruited into the MUF to provide "street power" to counter the "hooliganism" of the National Conference, the ruling party.
Malik campaigned for the MUF candidate Mohammad Yusuf Shah who stood for the 1987 elections from Amirakadal, Srinagar. Scholar Sumantra Bose states that, as the vote counting began, it became clear that Yusuf Shah was winning by a landslide. However, the opposing National Conference candidate Ghulam Mohiuddin Shah was declared the winner. Yusuf Shah as well as Yasin Malik were arrested by the police and imprisoned until the end of 1987 without a formal charge, court appearance or a trial. Widespread rigging and "booth-capturing" in the elections were reported, which, according to an anonymous writer from Kashmir valley,[b] were carried out by the National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah in connivance with the Government of India. The police refused to listen to any complaint. The National Conference-Congress alliance was declared the winner with 62 seats in the Assembly, and formed the government.
The rigged election of 1987 is seen by most scholars as the trigger for Kashmir insurgency. Malik disagrees. "Let me clear it, rigging in 1987 elections didn’t result in armed militancy. We were there even before 1987," he says.
After release from prison, Yusuf Shah called himself "Syed Salahuddin" and became a guerrilla fighter, eventually becoming the commander-in-chief of the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen. Yasin Malik crossed over to the Pakistan-administered Azad Kashmir[c] to become a militant. He returned to the Kashmir Valley in 1989 as a core member of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), declaring his goal as the independence for the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Yasin Malik, along with Hamid Sheikh, Ashfaq Wani and Javed Ahmad Mir, formed the core group — dubbed the "HAJY" group — of the JKLF militants returning with arms and training received in Azad Kashmir. They were said to have been "stunned" by the enthusiastic response to their call for independence in the Kashmir Valley. They waged a guerrilla war with the Indian security forces, kidnapping Rubiya Sayeed, the daughter of Indian Home Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, and targeting attacks on the government and security officials. In March 1990, Ashfaq Wani was killed in a battle with Indian security forces. In August 1990, Yasin Malik was captured in a wounded condition. He was imprisoned until May 1994. Hamid Sheikh was also captured in 1992 but released by the Border Security Force to counteract the pro-Pakistan guerrillas. By 1992, the majority of the JKLF militants were killed or captured and they were yielding ground to pro-Pakistan guerilla groups such as the Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, strongly promoted by the Pakistani military authorities. Further encroachment by pan-Islamist fighters infiltrating into the Valley from Pakistan changed the colour of the insurgency. Pakistan is said to have ceased its financial support to the JKLF because the JKLF did not support Kashmir's integration with Pakistan.
After release from prison on bail in May 1994, Yasin Malik declared an indefinite ceasefire of the JKLF. However, according to him, JKLF still lost a hundred activists to Indian operations. Independent journalists mentioned three hundred activists were killed. They were said to have been compromised by Hizb-ul-Mujahideen members, who informed their whereabouts to the security forces.
Malik renounced violence and adopted a Gandhian non-violent struggle for independence. He expressed a desire for a "democratic approach" involving the "true representatives" of Jammu and Kashmir. He offered political negotiations, but insisted they must be tripartite with both Indian and Pakistani governments and cover the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir. This was unacceptable to the Indian government. In the Spring of 1995, Malik protested the holding of Legislative Assembly elections in 1995 and threatened to immolate himself. He contended that the Indian government has "thrust this election process" on the Kashmiris just as a display of democracy.
Yasin Malik's peaceful struggle was unacceptable to the leadership of JKLF in Azad Kashmir. At the end of 1995, Amanullah Khan, the founder of JKLF, removed Malik as the president of JKLF. In return, Malik expelled Khan from the chairmanship. Thus JKLF had split into two factions. Victoria Schofield states that the Pakistan government recognised Yasin Malik as the leader of JKLF, which further complicated the situation.
In October 1999, Malik was arrested by Indian Authorities under the Public Safety Act and was again arrested on March 26, 2002 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act; he was detained for almost a year.
In recent times, Malik has had one-on-one meetings with President of Pakistan, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Prime Minister of India and other world leaders. In 2007, Malik and his party launched a campaign known as Safar-i-Azadi (Journey of Freedom). His journeys to meet some select world leaders was to create an atmosphere of anti-Indian sentiment among the public; which had lasted for over one year. During this time Yasin Malik and his colleagues visited about 3,500 towns and villages of Kashmir promoting an anti-Indian stance.
In 2005, a rival faction of Yasin Malik inside JKLF formed a separate organisation "JKLF(R)". Javed Mir is its convener.
In February 2013,Yasin Malik shared the dais with the banned Lashker-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed at a protest in Islamabad, which was condemned by many commentators, including Muslim bodies.
Malik had completed his graduation from S.P College Srinagar and also claims that most of his knowledge has been acquired by self-taught methods while he served his time in various jails. Malik loves the poetry of Allama Iqbal and the writings of Imam Gazali.
- Syed Ali Shah Geelani
- Kashmir conflict
- Burhan Muzaffar Wani
- Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly election, 2014
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