Geelani Stopped From Making Anti-dialogue Noises

16 October 2009
The Hindustan Times
Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar: Hard-line Kashmiri separatist leader Sayeed Ali Shah Geelani was prevented from addressing a Friday congregation at historic Pather Majid - which was a National Conference headquarter before 1989. He was likely to criticise New Delhiís dialogue process, which he believes is 'insincere effort till demands like declaring Kashmir a dispute are not met.' Geelani, who arrived from New Delhi a day ago, was held after a posse of police prevented him from moving out of house today. When he insisted, the police picked him up and drove him to nearby Humhama police station. At Pather Masjid, many supporters have arrived to listen to Geelaniís stand on the dialogue process. 'I am here since 11 am. I want to see where our leader stands on talks and what we have to do,' said a supported in the sprawling lawns of the mosque. He refused to be named. Talking to the Hindustan Times from the police lock-up, the aged separatist leader condemned the police action saying, 'Itís state terrorism.' Geelani has been in and out of jail since March when he was taken to a tourist hut in the high security Cheshmashahi area of the city, which had been converted into a sub-jail. He was kept there for three months. But even after his release from the sub-jail, he mostly remained under house arrest. Last week the J&K high court had asked the authorities to lift restrictions on him. 'The state government is not even respecting its own court. How can you expect justice here?' said Geelani, who heads a faction of Hurriyat Conference - a conglomerate of separatist groups. For the first time, while talking to Hindustan Times, Geelani criticised Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who heads moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference, for 'deviating' from an agreement signed by him last year with Geelani. 'In the agreement signed by Mirwaiz in 2008, he had said that we will stand and demand together right to self determination for people of Kashmir, as only solution. Besides, he agreed to the fact that any dialogue has to be tripartite dialogue,' said Geelani, while speaking from behind the bars. He also declined to meet the two-member committee constituted by the Mirwaiz- faction of the Hurriyat, which was to consult all the separatist groups before entering into a dialogue with New Delhi. 'There is no need. It will serve no purpose,' 80-year-old Geelani told the HT. But he was quick to add: 'We are not against a dialogue. Any dialogue has to be for permanent resolution of the Kashmir dispute. The only solution to the problem is right to self-determination as accepted by India in the United Nations resolutions. Besides, Pakistan need to be involved in the talks and India has to accept Kashmir as a dispute.' The ailing separatist leader said he would not change his stand. 'They (authorities) are trying to buy us but we are standing like a rock and will do that till my last breath and blood drop.'