Day after aide’s murder, angry Geelani points finger at Delhi
16 September 2004
The Indian Express
Srinagar: The day after his political secretary Pir Hisam-ud-din was shot dead, senior separatist hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani ratcheted up his hardline rhetoric blaming security forces for the killing. Cutting short his New Delhi visit, Geelani came here to address an angry crowd at the ‘‘Martyrs’ Graveyard’’ shouting pro-Independence and pro-Pakistan slogans. Such ‘‘dastardly killings by Indian forces,’’ he claimed, ‘‘will not shatter (my) his resolve to pursue Kashmir cause.’’ The 55-year-old Pir, a lawyer by profession, was appointed Geelani’s political secretary last year. A Jamat Islami ideologue, Pir was instrumental in helping Geelani launch the Tehreki- Hurriyat Kashmir and then get the Jamat to support it. A Geelani associate for four decades, Pir was deputed to London by Jamat where he worked closely with Ayub Thakur, a Kashmir separatist. Subsequently, his passport was impounded and on his return, he was imprisoned later. Observers feel that his killing will now be used as major propaganda point by hardliners although Geelani admitted today that he would miss his aide. Geelani alleged Pir was ‘‘banished’’ from Sopore as he was proving an ‘‘eyesore for Indian agencies.’’ Calling Pir the ‘‘greatest advocate of peaceful resolution of Kashmir,’’ Geelani said by eliminating him, a ‘‘dove had been killed in a hawk’s camp.’’ ‘‘If New Delhi thinks it will frighten me with acts like eliminating my aides, then it is grossly mistaken,’’ said the 72-year-old leader. ‘‘I am ready to lay down my life if they think that will help them in resolving Kashmir.’’ He alleged that security agencies were floating new groups to target separatist leaders. Earlier, Pir’s body, draped in a green flag, was taken from his Bemina residence towards the graveyard in a procession. Senior separatists leaders Sheikh Abdul Aziz, JKLF’s Yaseen Malik, Shabir Ahmed Shah, Azam Inaqilabi, Javed Mir and a battery of second-rung leaders from the moderate Hurriyat also attended the Nimaz-I-Jinaza. Mirwaiz Omar Farooq who heads the moderate faction of Hurriyat is at present in Saudi Arabia to perform Umra. However, leaders from his party were present. Meanwhile, a partial hartal was witnessed in the Kashmir Valley in response to the bandh call given by Geelani-led Hurriyat and Kashmir Bar Association. Shops and business establishments rmained closed in Srinagar to protest the killing of Pir. Traffic, however, was normal.