After hardline Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani was attacked in a seminar at New Delhi on October 21, it was the turn of Democratic Freedom Party (DFP) chairman Shabir Shah to face the heat from youth activists of Hindu extremist parties here on Thursday.
Shah, who was released from Kot Bhalwal jail on Wednesday after the gap of two years, was addressing a press conference when few Bharatiya Janta Yuva Morcha and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists entered the conference hall in a hotel and tried to beat Shah.
Shouting slogans against Shah and other separatists, these activists managed to assemble inside the hotel and attacked Shah who stayed in the conference hall with help of his friends and remained unhurt.
“It was an assassination attempt which the vibrant people of Jammu irrespective of their religion, who were with me, foiled. It was a pre-planned attack having the backing of government. Government first allowed the protestors to enter the hotel and then made a mockery of things when police took them away,” Shah told Hindustan Times, after the incident.
“I don’t care for these attempts and this will not hold me back to say truth. It is becoming a trend in whole India to attack those who speak truth. Such people attacked Arundhati Roy and Gautam Navlakha who speak truth,” said Shah, adding that he doesn’t fear any one except Allah.
“I don’t think there is much time left for me and I wish whenever death comes to me I should be on this path only fighting for the cause of people,” he added.
Shah informed since morning the hotel owner received threats from some people not to allow him to organize the press conference. “After these threats I decided to hold the press conference on road because I wanted to congratulate people of India on the eve of Diwali. But later without bothering about the consequences hotel owner allowed me to hold the meet inside,” Shah added.
“I request people of India to stay by the promise of giving right to self determination to people of J&K, made by first Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru in United Nations, like the father of lord Ram did when Ram came back home after spending 14 years of exile,” Shah said.
The DFP Chairman said that he is the strong supporter of giving the equal rights to people of Jammu and Ladakh of choosing what they want. “I am against the division of state. We have gone through the pain of division when half a million people got killed on November 6, 7 and 8 in 1947 and we don’t want to see this happen again,” Shah added.
Commenting on the United State President Barack Obama’s visit to India, Shah said, “We expect him to do mediation to resolve the Kashmir issue as per the aspirations of people but if he can’t do mediation, he should at least facilitate the tripartite talks between India, Pakistan and people of Kashmir.”
Talking about the visit of interlocutors to Kashmir headed by veteran journalist Dilip Padgaonkar, DFP chairman said, “Holding any talks with these interlocutors will not earn anything until the ground for the talks in cleared. We are not against talks but how come we could hold talks when hundreds of people including teenagers and separatist leaders are still languishing behind bars without any charges.”
“We first want from India to accept Kashmir issue as an international dispute and release all political prisoners and then we will go for tripartite meaningful talks,” Shah maintained.
When asked about his meeting with All Party Delegation (APD) members, Shah said, “I was amazed to know that opposition leaders in Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitly said that they don’t have mandate to talk to separatists. I ask them then why did Atal Behari Vajpayee, Jaswant Singh held talks with me. Why K.C. Panth was appointed interlocutor to my home by BJP led NDA government?”
On the issue of reuniting the Hurriyat Conference, Shah maintained, “My efforts were and will be to unite both factions of Hurriyat Conference and people fighting for the cause of freedom outside Hurriyat.”
Maintaining that if demilitarization is done in J&K, Shah said, “Same practice should also be applied in Azad Kashmir (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir) and in Gilgit Baltistan.”
Meanwhile, senior DFP leader Maulana Abdullah Tari has said that attack on Shah is state sponsored. “These attackers on their own could do nothing until they have backing from state,’ Tari added.