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Omar questions Geelani's shutdown call

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday targeted Hurriyat conference, an umbrella group of separatists, for its shutdown call in the wake of Syed Ali Shah Geelani issuing fresh protest calendars on the lines of 2010 unrest.

india Updated: Sep 04, 2011 19:11 IST
Peerzada Ashiq

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday targeted Hurriyat conference, an umbrella group of separatists, for its shutdown call in the wake of Syed Ali Shah Geelani issuing fresh protest calendars on the lines of 2010 unrest.

"Calls for lock-outs directly hinder the traders, undermine education of students and compel transporters to remain idle. Such shutdowns also put commuters through a lot of inconvenience and delay patients to receive treatment in hospital," said Abdullah while laying the foundation stone for a mega tourist circuit 'Naagar Nagar' at Srinagar's Kathi Darwaza area.

The chief minister's statement came in the wake of Geelani's threat to reissue protest calendars till all youth, arrested since last year, are released. "What service they (separatists) are serving to the people by this kind of attitude?" asked Abdullah.

Stressing for a political solution to the Kashmir issue, Abdullah said, "Repeatedly, I have made it clear and will continue to advocate that the basic political issues of the state cannot be resolved by economic measures or progress on development front."

Underlining that the successful tourism season --visiting of over six lakh visitors and equal number of Amarnath yatries this year -- has not solved the political problems, the chief minister said "it has largely helped economic betterment of people in general."

Without naming Geelani, the chief minister expressed anger at the approach of "those who are bent upon creating law and order situation".

"Due to the peaceful situation this year the government was able to organise police recruitment rallies in Srinagar city. These would continue in other constituencies of the city to provide job opportunities to the youth in the police department," said Abdullah.

The Hurriyat has called for a two-day 'civil curfew' asking people to stay indoors. "We condemn the shifting of 81 youth to central jail. This shows Abdullah's general amnesty is nothing but a false statement. This government has declared war against people. Those who raise their voice are being put behind the bar," alleged Geelani on Sunday.

The 82-year-old separatist leader had given an Eid deadline to the government to release prisoners. On the eve of Eid the chief minister extended amnesty to protesters arrested for resorting to stone-pelting in 2010 to demonstrate against the cycle of killing, which started on June 11 when a schoolboy died from police action.

Omar Abdullah's move to release top 13 separatist leaders, including top leaders like Sumji and Ashraf Sehrai, failed to stop Geelani from issuing protest calendar. The chief minister's amnesty relieved 1100 youths, but no amnesty was given to the youth, around 100, who were involved in arson and burning government property.

"We condemn the shifting of 81 youth to central jail in the last one day. This shows Abdullah's general amnesty is nothing but hoax," alleged Geelani.