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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Srinagar, November 16, 2012
In a reconciliatory note extended to grassroots representatives,  hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Friday said the elected Panchayat members too have sacrificed for Kashmir “cause” but the Indian government is exploiting these polls in international forums.
 
“India is distorting the facts and terming these elections as a mark of normalcy and vote of confidence and acceptance of Indian authority. It is why we repeatedly reject these elections and made appeals for boycott,” said Geelani in a statement on Friday from his Srinagar residence.
 
According to the Hurriyat spokesman Geelani was not allowed to offer Friday prayers by the police guarding his residence.
 
Geelani said the selected the Panchayat members should take note of how the Indian authorities are exploiting these elections. “They (grassroots representatives) ought to ponder over it and feel what their consciences say. Every family and every individual has sacrificed for the noble cause…they too have made sacrifices. So let you understand your moral obligations. Elections are always a mere drama and farce here,” said Geelani.
 
The statement assumes significance in the backdrop of recent Hizbul Mujahideen chief Sallahudin’s statement where he threatened these grassroots representatives, triggering more resignations.

Kashmir’s 34,000 grassroots representatives, elected last year, were frightened this year when two deputy sarpanches were killed in north Kashmir in two weeks in September. It was  followed by mass resignations through newspapers by scared grassroots representatives. At least seven such representatives have been killed so far.
 
Stating that he sees no difference between PDP’s Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, Congress’ Ghulam Nabi Azad and National Conference Omer Abdullah, Geelani said, “They are all employees and it is not denying the fact that they are creating the hurdles in freedom movement for their mean interests.”
 
Asking people not to fall pray to designs of the mainstream leaders, Geelani said, “It’s only for their power politics that they are expressing sympathies with the people living in Srinagar. I am sure that the people living in Srinagar would not get deceived by their politics and will exhibit and repeat their commitment with the on-going movement,” said Geelani.