Day after HRW report, Geelani admits 'mistakes' by militants
13 September 2006
The Daily Excelsior
Excelsior Special Correspondent
Srinagar: Unexpectedly critical of militants and Pakistan on account of human rights abuse, alongside security forces, Human Rights Watch report has forced the head of the hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, admit that 'militants too have been committing some mistakes' in Jammu and Kashmir. He has contended that any ceasefire, not aimed at finding a solution to the Kashmir dispute, could not prove to be a success in the strife-torn border State. After he was elected Chairman of his own faction of the Hurriyat Conference, for second consecutive term of three years, Syed Ali Shah Geelani told mediapersons at his alliance headquarters that the refrain of ceasefire (between militants and security forces) by certain politicians was bound to be a fiasco. He argued that any ceasefire, not aimed at finding a solution to the Kashmir problem, would prove to be wastage of time and energy. He referred to the ceasefire announcements of 1949, 1965, the Kargil skirmishes of 1999 and other incidents, and asserted that 'the Kashmir dispute' was 'unresolved and intact'. 'Cessation of hostilities has to be with a specific objective of finding a solution to the Kashmir dispute', Geelani said and added that New Delhi had never been sincere in finding solution to the vexed Kashmir problem. He alleged that most of the Human Rights Violations in Jammu and Kashmir, since the eruption of secessionist militancy in 1988-89, had reportedly come from Police and security. He condemned violence of security forces 'as well as militants' against the common man and claimed that he had always 'condemned' such incidents. 'Militants are not angels. They too can make mistakes', said Geelani who has, in fact, been never critical of the human rights abuse by militants. Contrary to HRW report, Geelani has never accepted that militants could be involved in targeted killings of civilians, grenade attacks and IED blasts at public places. Even today, he claimed that Army had let loose its agents for lobbing grenades at public places. The objective, according to him, was 'defaming the militants and freedom struggle'. In the last 17 years of insurgency, Geelani as well as other separatist politicians have been glorifying the gun for 'taking out the Kashmir issue out of cold storage' and giving clean chit to militants in all matters. Supporters in intelligentsia and so-called human rights groups based in Jammu and Kashmir have been shielding them under the argument that militants could not be put at par with security forces in public accountability and regard for human rights. Notwithstanding his half-admissions, Geelani asserted that the HRW report was 'one-sided, incomplete and made in Government offices' as the authors, according to him, had not met the common people and sufferers of the human rights abuse by security forces. He complained that the incidents of Army's human rights abuse had not been documented in the report. He claimed that as long as 'seven hundred thousand troopers' were present in the State, Human Rights Violation was bound to happen. Ironically, it is Syed Ali Shah Geelani who has been most emphatically demanding permission to foreign human rights watchdogs like Amnesty International, Asia Watch and Human Rights Watch to work in Kashmir and document incidents. Even as every small and big politician in the mainstream political camp has been shooting statements in favour of ceasefire- immediately after Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad hinted at a possibility last week-Geelani adopted an opposite course today. He pointed out that the much-talked-about ceasefire (between militants and security forces) was again a 'Ramzan-specific phenomenon' and clearly it was not in the direction of finding a political solution to the 'Kashmir dispute'. He said that the 'freedom struggle' would continue and the 'sacrifices' would run as usual. Geelani was addressing the media after being appointed as Chairman of his Hurriyat faction for another term of three years.