March 2007 News

Doctors advise Geelani to go abroad

4 March 2007
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: Senior separatist leader and head of the hard-line Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Geelani, suffering from kidney cancer, has been advised treatment outside India in view of his fragile health and age. But he does not have a passport, which was impounded by the Government way back in 1981. Surgical intervention Sources close to Mr. Geelani said that after a battery of tests on him at the Apollo Hospitals, it has been confirmed that the mass around his only kidney was malignant and needed immediate surgical intervention. His other kidney was removed after it was damaged during his incarceration in Ranchi jail in 2002. Mr. Geelani, who is also suffering from heart ailment, has been under observation for the last few weeks and his health is deteriorating. The doctors have advised surgery abroad as 'it is difficult to operate him here in these conditions.' Though he was allowed to perform Haj twice during the period he was never issued a regular passport. 'He has recently applied for the passport but the Government has not issued it so far,' his son Nasim-uz-Zaffar told The Hindu . He said that his father was ailing and needed special treatment, which was possible only outside India. The United Jehad Council, comprising all militant outfits, has also appealed to the Government to release his passport. In a statement its spokesman Sadaqat Hussain expressed concern over his health and urged Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf to intervene. The former Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, has also appealed to the Government to release his passport to facilitate his travel abroad for treatment. Pakistan's High Commissioner in Delhi Shahid Malik and his deputy also visited Mr. Geelani at his Delhi residence. In Kashmir special prayer meetings were organised for the speedy recovery of the senior leader. Offers to donate Shahidul Islam, a leader of the rival faction of the Hurriyat Conference has offered to donate his kidney for Mr. Geelani. 'He is a towering leader who has shown a way to the younger generation in Kashmir' he said in a statement, adding 'we need him at this crucial juncture of movement.' He hoped that Mr. Geelani would accept his offer.


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