Geelani freed, Shiv Sena disrupts press meet | india | Hindustan Times
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Geelani freed, Shiv Sena disrupts press meet

On his release, Geelani told reporters his arrest was politically motivated. "I have never incited communal passions."

india Updated: Jun 10, 2006 16:10 IST

Hardline Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani was freed on bail Saturday after being arrested on charges of inciting communal violence but a press meet called by him was disrupted by the Shiv Sena soon after.

Geelani, released from the Central Jail in Jammu, was to address a press conference at Premier Hotel in the heart of the walled city of Jammu at 2 pm.

But minutes before he could do so, a group of Shiv Sena activists trooped in raising slogans "Bharat Mata ki jai" and "Yadi Bharat mein rehna hoga, Vande Matram kehna hoga" ("If you have to live in India, then you will have to say Vande Mataram").

They were protesting against Geelani's anti-India and pro-Pakistan utterances. "We will not allow Pakistanis to chant anti-India themes in Jammu," Sena activists shouted.

"Unless, you say 'Hindustan Zindabad', you will not be able to hold any press conference in Jammu," they told Geelani in front of reporters.

But Geelani retorted: "Press conference or no press conference, I will not say what I don't believe."

Police intervention saved the situation from turning uglier. Policemen separated the two sides by confining Geelani to a room in the hotel and pulling out the Shiv Sena activists from there.

The Kashmiri leader had been arrested Wednesday. The chief judicial magistrate in Poonch granted him bail Friday but the bail orders reached the jail authorities in Jammu only Saturday morning.

He had applied for bail on health grounds. He is a heart patient and also suffers from severe kidney problems.

On his release, Geelani told reporters his arrest was politically motivated. "I have never incited communal passions."

Geelani was on a weeklong tour of the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch when he was arrested. The cases for which the arrest was made were registered in 2001.

"Why did police take five years to arrest me? It is just to deny me the chance to tell my side of the story on the Kashmir dispute," he said.