Infighting within ruling National Conference over hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani turned ugly on Thursday when member parliament GN Ratanpuri, a senior party leader, took on another senior leader Mustafa Kamal on social networking site Facebook.
Ratanpuri and Kamal in the past 24 hours have exchanged heated words after the former chose to meet Geelani in Delhi recently, while he was under house arrest. The NC parliamentarian also compared Geelani with NC founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, also grandfather of chief minister Omar Abdullah.
"I am not surprised to learn that like the advisors to CM, you have chosen the medium of newspapers to communicate to me a warning. Warning for comparing SAS Geelani with SM Abdulla. I respect your concern for your father as much as I respect Naseem Geelani's concern for his father," said Ratanpuri in an open letter addressed to Kamal.
The MP chose to put up the letter on social networking site Facebook, which went viral among netizens with hundreds sharing the contents.
"Civilised nations have fought battles, but erected memorials in the honour of their worthy adversaries. I consider Geelani Sahib as a worthy adversary of the National Conference. My humble origin and my simple upbringing have taught me to be kind and polite to my detractors and defamers too, while I believe that, to Geelani Sahib, I owe my respect for his steadfastness to his ideals. I may also clarify that I differ with the means that he has chosen, while I share many of his ideals," wrote Ratanpuri.
The MP was defending his earlier statement where he drew parallels between Geelani and the NC founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, father of Farooq Abdullah. "I reiterate the fact that SM Abdullah is the tallest leader of the 20th century Kashmir. He is tallest not because he was some angel or prophet. He was a mortal with his share of flaws, failures and fallacies, but a bigger share of qualities...Please note, I cannot see that future, but I cannot rule out the possibility of SAS Geelani turning out to be the tallest Kashmiri of 21st Century," wrote Ratanpuri.
He also went on saying that he would not like anybody to believe that boiling oil was frozen by the touch of his (Shiekh Abdullah's) finger or plant leaves carried his name.
"He is tallest not because he was some angel or prophet. He was a mortal with his share of flaws, failures and fallacies, but a bigger share of qualities," he wrote.
Ratanpuri's fiery letter has come a just a day after Kamal warned him against comparing the NC founder with Geelani.
"Ratanpuri doesn't know about the history. How dare he compare Late Shiekh Mohammad Abdullah with Geelani! Shiek was a great leader while as Geelani is an unscrupulous element who wants to put Kashmir on fire. Geelani has no principles and he loves death and destruction," Kamal said on Wednesday.