People Have Failed Leadership: Geelani

27 November 2015
Rising Kashmir
Shujaat Bukhari and Faisul Yaseen

Srinagar: Hurriyat Conference (G) Chairman, Syed Ali Geelani Friday said people of Kashmir had failed the leadership and the leadership had not let them down. In an exclusive interview to Rising Kashmir at his residence, the 86-year-old Geelani while referring to the massive participation of people in elections said the leaders cannot be blamed for letting people down. He said if people do not pay heed to the leaders for boycotting polls, it was their weakness and this failure should not be attributed to the leadership. 'If people have lost confidence in their leaders, it also is the weakness of people,' said Geelani, considered to be the most consistent voice on Kashmir. 'Hurriyat leaders always introspect,' he said. 'Introspection is needed at individual as well as community level but the real weakness is in people of Kashmir not the leaders.' The octogenarian leader said people had failed the leaders not vice versa. 'People should always give preference to free themselves from occupation rather than other necessities,' he said. 'Kashmiris give preference to roads, daily wage jobs, universities, flyovers, shopping malls and other such things but they fail to understand this is never going to set us free.' Geelani said until Kashmiris do not understand that giving preference to such things only makes occupation stronger, people would never achieve their goal. 'Wherever there is occupation in any part of the world, it is the duty of the occupier to take care of the occupied people,' he said. 'When the British occupied India, they took care of Indians yet Indians continued with their freedom struggle and won freedom after 200 years and similar is the situation for Kashmir.' The veteran Hurriyat leader said even if Kashmiris do not vote, they still pay taxes and the resources they have are exploited by India. 'So, India is duty bound to take care of the day-to-day needs of Kashmiris,' he said. 'If they feel National Conference isn't doing anything for them, they vote for Peoples Democratic Party and when they feel PDP does not do anything for them, they vote for other parties that is not the right thinking.' Geelani was all praise for the Kashmiri youth taking up arms. 'Our youth, especially our educated youth, have now started feeling being under occupation and they cannot bear more humiliation,' he said. 'They are ready to die for Kashmir cause.' The AHC (G) Chairman said now Kashmiri youth are aware how Indian Army was looting Kashmir's resources and killing Kashmiris. 'Armed youth always had a role and their role is most important for the Kashmir movement,' he said. 'Their rights are snatched due to India's brute force and India's guns.' Geelani said in such circumstances, Kashmiri youth do not have any option but to pick up guns. 'It is good that they are doing it,' he said but told them to be cautious never to trample the human rights of the people, never to trespass them. 'We cannot call it violence as these youth are fighting for their rights with different means.' However, the veteran Hurriyat leader condemned the mindless violence perpetuated by terrorist organisations like the Daesh, Al-Qaeda and Boko Haram. 'In Norway, 77 innocent people were killed by a gunman. That is one form of terrorism. Another form of terrorism is when Daesh or Boko Haram kills innocent people without reason like attacks in Paris. And the third form of terrorism is the state terrorism like India is doing in Kashmir,' he said. 'The state terrorism is the worst form of all terrorism. The worst example of state terrorism is what the US did in Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel does in Palestine and India in Kashmir.' Geelani said he disowns gun which helps 'India occupy Kashmir' but said picking up guns is one of the options for Kashmiri youth to fight India's guns. Referring to killing of a Kashmiri youth, who was killed in a drone attack in FATA after joining Al-Qaeda, the Hurriyat (G) chairman said he does not endorse Kashmiris joining Al-Qaeda or Daesh. 'We neither support Al-Qaeda nor Daesh and I request all Kashmiri youth not to wave Daesh flags or Al-Qaeda flags or join either groups,' he said. Geelani said youth, who wave these flags, were immature and needed to see what Daesh was doing in the Middle East. 'Islam gets a bad name because of Daesh,' he said. 'May be they are waving these flags only to irritate India.' Geelani said he led the led the funeral prayers in absentia of Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden because he was killed unarmed. 'I believe when any unarmed person is killed, he or she is a martyr.'