iconimg Friday, May 22, 2015

Toufiq Rashid , Hindustan Times
Srinagar, November 09, 2013
Days after the hardline separatist leader was freed from nine-month house detention, Syed Ali Shah Geelani is seen denouncing "violence" of all kinds.
While addressing people in his traditional bastion of Sopore last week Geelani had denounced stone pelting and called for peaceful protests, on Friday the hardliner asked people not to resort to "provocative slogans".

The hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference denied that its leader called all stone throwers in Kashmir as "agents of the Indian security forces" but insisted that Geelani "never propagated violence".

The spokesman of the Hurriyat (Geelani), Ayaz Akbar, told Hindustan Times that Geelani made a distinction between those who throw stones without provocation and those who are "provoked by the police and Indian security forces to do so".

Akbar, however, agreed that Geelani is "against violence". "In the rally at Kupwara on Friday, Geelani sahib objected to slogans like 'Ayee ayee Laskhar ayee' or 'India teri maut ayee'," said Akbar.

"Geelani sahib has always been against provocative slogans. He has always said we have nothing against people of India and we don't propagate death for anybody," he added.

Akbar, however, maintained that "protest through non-violent means" has been the standard policy of the hardline leader. "He has always denounced such slogans, it's just that in the last three years Geelani sahib has hardly gotten the chance to address such a gathering," Akbar said.

Geelani, whose rally in Sopore town on November 1 was followed by violence between protesters and police and paramilitary personnel, had quickly condemned stone pelting saying it was done by "agents", trying to sabotage him.

He had also asked people not to resort to violence during his poll boycott campaigns.

The comments were followed by a clarification by the Hurriyat leader saying "security agencies incite the youth to violence by stopping peaceful rallies and processions through brute force".

However, Hurriyat (Geelani) said unprovoked incidents of stone pelting do harm the resistance movement as opponents of the struggle take political advantage from it.

"Sometime youth get carried away, but violence cannot be justified," Akbar added.

While Geelani gave a call for poll boycott just a few days after government removed restrictions from his movement, the moderate separatists have termed the call "premature".