Fazal Attack Sparks War Of Words

6 December 2009
Greater Kashmir
Danish Nabi

Srinagar: The murderous assault on senior Hurriyat Conference (M) leader, Fazal Haq Qureshi, has triggered a war of words between the two factions of the conglomerate with Mirwaiz Umar Farooq tracing the attack to “provocative utterances by certain quarters which incited the assailants” and Syed Ali Shah Geelani defending his stand on quiet talks. Without naming anyone, Mirwaiz had said yesterday that “the assailants were incited by the provocative statements.” Addressing a gathering at Parimpora on Sunday, Geelani, apparently reacting to what the Hurriyat Conference (M) had said yesterday, said: “I never issue any provocative statement. I only speak the truth and can’t refrain from it to appease anyone. If somebody gets angry over the policy of those ready to hold talks with New Delhi, what can we do?” Geelani rejected the allegation that he had a say among militant groups. “I have no say with them. They don’t consult me before committing an act. My movement is peaceful and I even avoid provocative slogans,” Geelani said. “But I am not alone in this. The entire nation is with me,” he added. Referring to his disapproval of quiet talks being construed as provocative statement, Geelani said, “Declaring it as provocative statement is something uncalled for. We are demanding our democratic right and if India is a democracy it should have no objection to grant us our right.” At an emergency meeting yesterday, Hurriyat (M) had expressed its disgust over what it called “provocative and irresponsible utterances” being given by “certain quarters” of the pro-freedom camp. Hurriyat (M) had said that such statements had become a reason for murderous attacks. The conglomerate sees the quiet dialogue with New Delhi as the first step in the process that can lead to the resolution of Kashmir issue through tripartite talks. Geelani on Sunday argued that those involved in quiet diplomacy violated the Hurriyat constitution. “The terms and conditions for any dialogue on Kashmir are mentioned in the constitution and those who are going for quiet dialogue too have signed it,” Geelani said. Geelani said the quiet diplomacy would yield nothing except softening of borders which can’t be accepted as a solution to the Kashmir issue. “If we were to accept softening of borders then why did we struggle for 60 years? Why so many sacrifices?” he asked.