A meeting with the Centre’s representative for Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma has split Professor Abdul Ghani Bhat’s Muslim Conference, a constituent of the Hurriyat.
While Bhat has expelled his party’s representative in Pakistan Manzoor-ul-Haq from the party, a rival group has expelled Bhat from the Muslim Conference. Following the split in the party over his meeting, Bhat Sunday denied meeting the interlocutor.
On Wednesday, speaking to The Indian Express, Bhat had admitted that he met Sharma and said he would “issue a detailed statement” on what transpired between them.
But in a release on Sunday, he said, “It (reports of his meeting with Sharma) seems a conspiratorial guess. That evening (November 27), I was told that some people have come to meet me. I said my doors are open and those who have come to meet me should come inside. Then two people entered my room — one of them was a Kashmiri Pandit and another was some non-Kashmiri…. There was no Hurriyat member. Perhaps the eye that saw it was squinted — the Kashmiri Pandit seemed a Hurriyat leader to him and the non-Kashmiri (seemed) interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma (to him)”.
Bhat, however, has not identified who the “non-Kashmiri” person was.
Bhat’s U-turn came after his party split. Sources say the Pakistan-based representative of the Muslim Conference Haq wrote to Bhat, asking him to explain why he met Sharma. Haq and his Valley-based supporters announced an interim president of the Muslim Conference.
In a letter to Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Haq and his associates said Mohammad Sultan Magray is the interim president of the party and that the Hurriyat, in the future, should only contact him.
Reacting to the development, Bhat expelled Haq from the basic membership of the party. “In regard to your ambition admixed with indiscpline, I, Professor Abdul Ghani Butt, President Muslim Conference, in exercise of the authority vested in me as such do hereby expel you from the basic membership of the organisation and shall, therefore, cease to represent Muslim Conference in any respect and at any level in Pakistan,” Bhat said in a letter, also marked to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
Sources in the Hurriyat said that the Mirwaiz-led Hurriyat Conference, too, has issued a showcause notice to Bhat.