Geelani Rejects Centre’s 8-point Formula On J&K25 September 2010
Srinagar: Syed Ali Shah Geelani has rejected the Centre’s 8-point formula to deal with weeks of civil unrest in Jammu and Kashmir saying it does not address the core issue of Kashmir and is a “deliberate attempt to buy time.” Other separatist leaders have maintained a studied silence over the package whereas chief minister Omar Abdullah welcomed it as a positive development which must lead to a resolution to all political issues of the state. Kashmir’s chief Muslim cleric and chairman of his faction of Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said he would be discussing the package with his senior colleagues in the conglomerate. However, a statement issued by his office here said, “The All Parties Hurriyat Conference has for a long time being reiterating the implementation of certain measures for improving the ground situation and creating an atmosphere free of intimidation and coercion.” It added, “This is needed for initiating a process of meaningful engagement between the three concerned parties for the resolution of the Kashmir issue…a serious and sincere effort towards that end needs to be made.” But defiant Mr Geelani announced a fresh 10-day calendar of strikes and protests beginning on Monday which virtually incapacitates the state government’s effort to bring the educational system back on the rails by seeking reopening of schools and colleges from September 27. The government had earlier during the day on Saturday announced that school buses could ply on the roads in spite of curfew restrictions being in force in Srinagar and elsewhere in the Valley and that the identity cards of the teaching staff would be treated as curfew passes whereas parents of the students could also accompany them to their respective schools and back home. On being contacted over the phone soon after the package of measures was approved by the CCS at its meeting and unveiled by Mr P. Chidambaram at a press conference in New Delhi, the octogenarian separatist leader said that the Centre had failed to take up any of the five points he had identified for breaking ice on Kashmir. “Mr Chidambaram did not cover any of the five points I had suggested towards creating conducive atmosphere for our reviewing the current phase of our struggle and which could help in seeking a resolution through dialogue,” Mr Geelani said. He added, “Our peaceful struggle shall continue.” He ridiculed the decision that government will grant ex-gratia of '5 lakh to the family of each of those killed in security forces’ firing and other actions during the unrest since June 11 saying “So they have fixed '5 lakh the price of the blood of our martyr. Even '5 crore can’t be substitute to it I must say.” Mr Geelani said that, instead of trying to “buy time,” the Centre should put up with the “reality” in Kashmir. Asked that the package includes a group of interlocutors led by an eminent person to hold “sustained dialogue” with all sections of Jammu and Kashmir and also review deployment of security forces in the Valley, especially Srinagar, Mr Geelani said, “Such interlocutors have failed to help in the situation. Since 1947, especially after 1953, the Government of India has set up such groups or appointed interlocutors as many as 150 times but all failed to address the issue and were wrapped up without being of any help.” He lamented that the Centre acknowledges the issues in Kashmir will be addressed amicably but by the same breath contends that it was an integral part of India and when voices of concern over the human rights violations in the state are raised outside India, New Delhi retorts by terming it as its internal matter. “I don’t see the package announced by Mr. Chidambaram carries any weight and, therefore, I reject it. Our peaceful struggle will continue till India concedes Kashmir is an issue of international importance and other four points identified by me,” he said.