Long regarded as a hardline separatist, Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Wednesday came out against current violence in the Kashmir, telling agitators burning public property would damage the "movement".
80-year-old Geelani's surprise public appeal before television cameras at his residence here came against the backdrop of violent protests in the valley in which 39 people have died in recent weeks.
He said those indulging in stone pelting, burning offices, railway stations and vehicles "did not belong to the Kashmir movement" and were only causing harm to the issue.
"Such violence will not affect the people we are protesting against. It will only affect us. We should think about this with a calm mind. It is my wish that this movement goes further but not in violent manner," Geelani, who was released on Monday from the custody, said.
He said though all the violence is a reaction to the injustice on Kashmiris, they should not forget the basic principles.
"We should, in all circumstances, bring forward our helpless situation. We are not cruel, we are helpless and through this we should they should also know that we have a good upbringing," he said.
Geelani asked people to undertake peaceful demonstrations and stage sit-in wherever they are stopped by the police.
He appealed to people to give a thought to his appeal with a calm mind and refrain from indulging in violent protests.