Sparks at a meet on Kashmir
Farooq Abdullah and Syed Ali Shah Geelani today sparred in public in New Delhi with the former chief minister asking him to give up his "movement of violence" in Jammu and Kashmir and telling him secession can never be accepted.delhi Updated: Mar 19, 2011 19:33 IST
Farooq Abdullah and Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Saturday sparred in public in New Delhi with the former chief minister asking him to give up his "movement of violence" in Jammu and Kashmir and telling him secession can never be accepted.
Accusing the separatist leader of leading a violent campaign in Jammu and Kashmir, he also ruled out the state returning to pre-1947 position or the possibility of holding a plebiscite in the state, a demand pressed by Geelani.
Participating in a discussion on "Kashmir, What Next" at the "India Today" conclave, Abdullah counselled Geelani, chairman of the hardline Hurriyat Conference, to take the cue from Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who he said he gave up a violent struggle in the larger interest of peace.
Geelani, who was surprised at the presence of Abdullah -- who substituted BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who failed to turn up -- but, heard him patiently, was heard murmuring to the moderator why he was not told about the union minister being part of the panel of speakers.
"Farooq sahab was not one of the speakers. My elders have said, and I am sure your elders would have also said, that if someone is sick, he can be treated but habits cannot be treated," he remarked sarcastically.
In his speech, Geelani said the problem of Kashmir is one of "broken promises" right from the beginning.
However, he was attacked by another panelist Arif Mohd Khan, a former union minister, who said that Geelani had contested Assembly elections, in which one has to affirm faith in the Indian constitution.
"But now now look at the freedom in this country. He (Geelani) has the freedom to trash the Constitution he once took oath under," Khan said.
Indian muslims, who migrated to Pakistan, were still called 'mohajirs' (displaced people), he said, adding that in India the present generation does not not even know that Hindus and Sikhs from Pakistan, who came here were once called 'sharanarthi' (refugees).