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BJP demands Geelani's arrest

The party insists on immediate arrest of Hurriyat leader for provoking Kashmiris by his anti-national statements.

delhi Updated: Apr 23, 2007 22:16 IST

The BJP demanded immediate arrest of Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and pressing of sedition charges against him for his "anti-national" views on the Kashmir issue.
BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said "his public demand on self-determination and demilitarisation is extremely provocative and a rank as an anti-national statement. We would like to ask the state government why sedition charges have not been slapped against him the way they had been pressed against our party leaders."

Prasad recalled that the Jammu and Kashmir police had registered sedition case against Vinay Katiyar and Sahib Singh Verma for allegedly announcing bounty for killing militants a charge they had denied later.

"Geelani's statement cannot be viewed in isolation but is directly related to a highly permissive atmosphere created by the UPA government through its ambiguous policies towards terrorists and separatists," Prasad said.

He said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had repeatedly been "snubbed" by Hurriyat leaders for his invitation to talks. "So long as issues of security are influenced by alien considerations, as is being done by the UPA government, elements like Geelani will continue to get emboldened."

Senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu said Geelani should be arrested for slogans raised in support of LeT militants at the public meeting. "The prime minister, the union home minister and Sonia Gandhi should explain their silence."

Naidu also took serious exception to the formation of a committee to consider withdrawal of army from Kashmir saying that such a demand was "anti-national". The government is appeared to have buckled under the pressure of its allies, he said.

Any withdrawal of army from Jammu and Kashmir will send a wrong message and adversally affect the morale of the security personnel, he said.

In Varanasi, BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi said "the militants raising slogans against our country and displaying flags of banned terror outfit in full public view reflect their total disregard for the law of the land which could have not have been possible if the UPA had persisted with strong measures to tackle insurgency."

First Published: Apr 23, 2007 22:11 IST