Method In The Madness
by Bashir Assad
Advocates Miyan Qayoom, Ronga and Shaheen have the most hawkish attitude. HCBA was an important constituent of the separatist conglomerate – the Hurriyat Conference
Three former presidents of High Court Bar Association (HCBA), Kashmir, are likely to be barred from legal practice owing to their deep involvement in anti-national activities. The trio has been charged with waging war against the state and instigating violence and terrorism in Kashmir valley.
Advocate Miyan Abdul Qayoom, Advocate Nazir Ahmad Ronga and Advocate Gulam Nabi Thoker alias Shaheen have remained presidents of HCBA multiple times. Right since 1989, the trio had been on the forefront in spearheading the campaign against the Indian state.
Many FIRs stand registered against each of them in various police stations of Kashmir. The trio had also been jailed on many occasions for incitement of violence against the state. The constitution of The High Court Bar Association, Kashmir, interestingly states its objective as being the “peaceful settlement of Kashmir dispute”.
This phenomenon is indeed unique to the functioning of HCBA. The office bearers of HCBA practice the laws laid down in the spirit of the Constitution of India. They swear by the Constitution on daily basis. They seek justice for their clients in the spirit of the Constitution of India. For decades now, they have earned their livelihood by basing their legal practice on the law of the land. And outside the hallowed doors of the courtroom, they have been the adversaries of the same Constitution.
In November 2020, for the first time the Administration asked HCBA to explain why “Kashmir dispute” finds mention in its constitution. The administration issued a notice to the Kashmir High Court Bar Association to explain the first objective of its constitution as being the “peaceful settlement of Kashmir dispute”.
Upholding The Separatist Ecosystem
The High Court Bar Association was an important constituent of the separatist conglomerate – the Hurriyat Conference – till 2003. The trio owed allegiance to either of the two factions of the Hurriyat Conference led by Mirvaiz Umer Farooq and late Syed Ali Geelani respectively.
Miyan Qayoom was ideologically inclined to Jamaat i Islami, and was seen as a close confident of Geelani. Nazir Ahmad Ronga, on the other hand, was a member of Mirvaiz-led Hurriyat Conference. Shaheen was associated with Muslim Conference led by Professor Abdul Gani Bhat, a constituent of the Mirvaiz group. Shaheen was expelled from Muslim Conference somewhere in 2002. The trio has remained active in promoting and propagating anti-India sentiment in Kashmir till today.
The Government of Jammu and Kashmir, through the Department of Law had recently filed a complaint before the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir against these three former presidents of HCBA for their involvement in “anti -national activities, professional conduct and indiscipline”, seeking necessary action against them.
On the order of the two judges, the Disciplinary Committee has summoned the accused for explanation on December 17, 2022. Interestingly, the complaint has been filed against them in their individual names with reference to a large number of specific incidents, acts and statements.
Legitimizing Lawlessness Among Lawyers
This seems to be the first step towards the cancellation of the license of Miyan Qayoom, Advocate Nazir Ahmad Ronga and Advocate Gulam Nabi Thoker alias Shaheen to practice as advocates. Pertinently, all three of them are facing charges of money laundering and terror funding. Miyan Qayoom in particular faces charges of land grabbing also.
A careful study of the actions and activities of Qayoom , Ronga and Shaheen ever since the inception of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir in 1989 gives us a fair idea of their modus operandi. One, the trio have been dutiful and steadfast in indulging in the promotion and propagation of the separatist, anti-India thought process among the people of Kashmir. Within the court premises, the trio led the charge and set the precedent for the lawyers’ community to be on war path with the state.
Qayoom , Ronga and Shaheen legitimize illegality and lawlessness among the lawyers. Following their footsteps, dozens of other lawyers actively remained engaged in the defense, promotion and incitement of extra judicial and extra constitutional thought processes.
The trio of Qayoom , Ronga and Shaheen have emerged as the kingpins of a powerful syndicate. The larger influence of this syndicate has even facilitated – through overt and covert means – the killing of dozens of peaceful and law abiding persons including some lawyers who did not subscribe to their views.
Most Hawkish After Geelani
This syndicate discouraged and denounced any individual or collective efforts towards rationalism and pragmatism. The High Court Bar Association was seen as the most hawkish body after Syed Ali Geelani.
On various occasions HCBA justified the killing of innocent civilians who professed an outlook contrary to their viewpoint. HCBA never allowed space to its ideological opponents in the organization.
But for HCBA, such hawkish political leanings weren’t enough. Holding sway over the Bar Association, the trio ensured that those who were affiliated with mainstream political parties where denied membership in HCBA.
Our digital magazine KZINE and later the print edition Kashmir Central has consistently reported that HCBA enjoyed all the support of the state, but itself was an anti-state body. In all the reaches where HCBA exerted influence, individuals who believed in the state and its systems were discredited and denounced.
It was astounding that HCBA acted more like the extension of the foreign agencies, while it drew all the benefits from the state. In personal interactions, various respectable lawyers of Kashmir have told me that it would be appropriate if the former office bearers of HCBA are tried for sedition charges, facilitating the killing of law-abiding people, normalizing violence in Kashmir, and harassment of their ideological opponents. They state is in possession of all material and circumstantial evidences against them which can sufficiently prove them guilty.