Geelani Sees Comeback Chance Amid Kashmir Unrerst4 August 2010
The Economic Times
Srinagar: The violence in the Kashmir Valley claimed its 45th victim since June 11 with Iqbal Ahmad Khan, 17, succumbing to bullet injuries. He was injured Friday in clashes between an unruly mob and CRPF troopers in Srinagar's Chanapora locality. Iqbal's injury had sparked off massive violence across the Kashmir Valley with protesters burning police stations, police camps, government property and vehicles belonging to the Indian Air Force, paramilitary, police and the state government. Trying to put an end to the violence, separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani asked people not to destroy public property or resort to violence because it goes against the cause. “Let all the people come out of their houses and protest,” the septuagenarian hawk, said. “When they are stopped by police or CRPF let them sit down there with their hands up.” Addressing a news conference at his Hyderpora residence soon after he was set free, Mr Geelani said: “We should not do anything that damages the cause.” Insisting that the “we should be allowed to move around freely,” Mr Geelani said marshalling of people by government forces must end and all prisoners should be released. Mr Geelani said chief minister Omar Abdullah’s political adviser Devinder Rana had met him in Cheshmashahi sub-jail. “He asked me if change of government in J&K will help. I told him that change of government will not make any difference because we are fighting for right to self determination.” He said a track-II team led by Prof Radha Kumar from Delhi too met him, offering talks. Claiming there was no difference between rival Hurriyat’s on the Kashmir issue, Mr Geelani said he was the ‘leader of the movement’. He rejected the idea of the ongoing movement being leaderless and claimed that people were acting upon the programme of his Hurriyat. “It is nothing new as we had done it in 2008 as well.” The agitation in 2008 was sparked by the death of two women in Shopian which the separatist claimed was murder. CBI, with the help of forensic experts, was able to prove that it was a conspiracy hatched to create unrest. However, the separatist propaganda still finds credence among sections in the state. Mr Geelani, believed to be pro-Pakistan, had forced a vertical split in the Hurriyat after he accused his colleagues in the alliance of indirectly helping the government in holding 2002 elections.