Geelani supporters attack JKLF leaders with stones, knives14 March 2010
The Daily Excelsior
Srinagar: The lines of division between pro-Pakistan and pro-Independence separatists came to the fore in Sopore town of Baramulla district as supporters of hard line Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani allegedly attacked Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik and his supporters, leaving six persons injured. Malik had gone to Chinkipora village in Sopore town, where several houses were damaged during a fierce gun battle between militants and security forces last month, to distribute relief money among the victims. The trouble began when a group of youth raising pro-Geelani and pro-Pakistan slogans tried to disrupt the function organized by JKLF, sources said. They said Malik during his visit to Chinkipora, after the encounter, had reportedly told a gathering there that it would have been easier for the freedom movement had every Kashmiri supported an 'Independent Jammu and Kashmir'. The supporters of Geelani, who stand for a merger of the state Pakistan, were incensed by these remarks and decided to take on the JKLF activists today, the sources added. According to a JKLF spokesman, the party had organized a public gathering at Chinkipora for distribution of relief when some 'hooligans' bearing allegiance to Geelani tried to create problems. 'The people tried their best to keep these goondas at bay and even succeeded for some time,' he said. The spokesman said when Malik was about to board his vehicle after the function, Geelani's supporters started stone-pelting and used knives to attack JKLF activists. 'Several JKLF activists were injured in the stone-pelting while one activist received a deep wound in the neck and required 18 stitches,' he added. The spokesman said JKLF will not be cowed down by such tactics of brow beating as similar attempts in the past have failed as well. 'Any amount of condemnation of these cowardly attacks on those young boys who spent last nine days and nights to collect relief for the affected families will not be enough. JKLF also thanks those right thinking people of Sopore who chased away the hooligans,' he added. The JKLF chairman had launched a donation collection campaign last week and collected more than Rs 12 lakh over the past nine days for the victims of Chinkipora and Dadsara in Tral area of Pulwama district where five houses were damaged in a similar gun battle. Rs 8 lakh were given to Chinkipora families while another Rs one lakh was given to families whose houses were damaged in similar operation four months back. Malik refused to comment on the incident saying his party has made its position clear in the statement. Ayaz Akbar, spokesman for Geelani-led Hurriyat, said the facts were being ascertained from the local representatives of the party. 'We will not comment on the issue till a true picture emerges from the scene of the incident,' he added.