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We are loyal Indians: kin of Kashmiri secessionists

If there could be one stark parameter of the changed ecosystem in Kashmir and an endgame for Pakistan, it has to be the trend of notices published by the children and grandchildren of Kashmiri separatist leaders in the local English and Urdu newspapers announcing they are “loyal citizens of India.”

Two such public notices recently published are from Sama Shabir Shah, the elder of the two daughters of Shabir Shah, a separatist who is lodged in Delhi’s Tihar jail facing trial for money laundering, terror funding, and training youth in arms and ammunition to rise against India in Kashmir.

The other one is from Ruwa Altaf, aka Ruwa Shah the grand-daughter of Syed Ali Shah Gilani, a Tehreek-e-Hurriyat leader who till his last breath espoused Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan, establishing Nizam-e-mustafa (Islamic rule) and prompted youth to pick gun.

In a separate public notice published in a local newspaper on Thursday, Sama Shabir Shah, 23, who is studying in the UK, emphasised her status as a “loyal Indian citizen” and unequivocally distanced herself from the banned secessionist organization  – PDF – founded by her father.

“I am a loyal citizen of India and I am not affiliated with any person or organization which is against the sovereignty of the Union of India,” Sama Shabir said in the notice.

“I am not associated with the DFP or its ideology in any way,” she said and warned anyone linking her name to secession or the party of legal action.

Ruwa Shah, who had once shifted to Turkey along with some other Kashmiri journalists where she was working with TRT and wrote stories against India, also published a similar notice this week.

 “I am a loyal citizen of India, not affiliated with any organization or association that has an agenda against the Union of India, and I owe allegiance to the constitution of my country,” Shah said.

Ruwa Altaf’s father Altaf Ahmed Shah also called Altaf Fantoosh was the son-in-law of Geelani and also his confidante in the hey days of insurgency and terrorism. He was also arrested in the cases of terror funding and died last year after a prolonged illness.

Ruwa, who returned to Kashmir last year, has issued a public notice distancing herself from the Hurriyat Conference faction founded by her late grandfather. She married and has since been living in Kashmir. Her social media posts are mostly about Kashmir and its life.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Shabir Shah

Geelani had been a MLA for several terms and at the onset of pro-Pakistan militancy rose to become the front-ranking and most rabid pro-Pakistani leader. He died in September 2021 at the age of 91 and was buried quietly. His cult status ended with the people revolting against his role in pushing youth into terrorism and most of them ended in graves in the prime of their youth while his children and grandchildren were sent abroad for studies and jobs.

On the other hand, Shabir Shah, was released from detention on the understanding that he will join the mainstream and issue a call for ending terrorism in Kashmir. he never did that.Today, he is anundeertrial facing cases of terror funding, money laundering, etc by the Enforcement Directorate of the Ministry of Finance and the national Investigation Agency (NIA).

These public notices speak volumes about the 360-degree change in the ecosystem in Kashmir. Also, people see this trend, which is likely to catch up with others in the coming days, as the reversal of the trend at the beginning of terrorism.

Back then public personalities and political leaders were forced to issue public notices in newspapers distancing themselves from “Indian” political parties and institutions. Terrorists would issue naked threats to the leaders and have even killed many from all the political parties.

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Even relatives and family of the political leaders issued such notices to declare their dissociations with the personality who was part of the ‘Indian’ System in Kashmir.


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