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Pakistan a friend, India occupying force: Kashmir separatist leader Geelani

At least 75 people have been killed and over 10,000 injured in Kashmir in violent clashes between the security forces and civilians following the death of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani in July.

Burhan_wani_kashmir Updated: Sep 09, 2016 20:42 IST
Abhishek Saha
Abhishek Saha
Hindustan Times
Kashmir,Burhan Wani,Syed Ali Shah Geelani
Separatist leader of the hardliner faction of All Parties Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani waves to his supporters outside his house as he arrives to participate in a march towards an army base in Srinagar.(AP)

The government has prepared a “kill list” of Kashmiri leaders, civil society members and activists, separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani alleged on Friday as tensions continued to simmer in the Valley.

In a letter, Geelani said Kashmir was “occupied” by India and said the current unrest in the Valley had provided a powerful push towards “freedom”.

“Never before have we been so close to freedom with such clarity as we are now,” he said in the letter, released after his scheduled press conference was restricted by authorities.

Police did not allow any journalist, photographer and television cameramen to proceed towards Geelani’s house.

“I don’t know why the press conference was not allowed, decision must have been taken at the district administration level. If his statement has anything anti-national, anything against the law, it will attract action,” said state director general of police K Rajendra Kumar.

Geelani’s comments came after more than two months of violence following the killing of insurgent leader Burhan Wani. At least 62 people have died -- unofficial estimates put the number at 75 -- and thousands injured in clashes with security forces.

The government was initially willing to talk to separatists but has since hardened its stand, saying the Hurriyat and others have limited influence in the Valley and the “primacy of the state” needed to be established to ward off the perceived threat of radical Islamic theocracy. The Centre also says Islamabad is fanning the unrest.

But Geelani described the ongoing turmoil as a “people’s resistance”. “We have no resources. We have no army. We have no media. But our greatest strength is our truth, unity and our determination to free ourselves…” he wrote.

Geelani described how Kashmiris have been killed, maimed and blinded in the ongoing turmoil and how different sections of professionals have sacrificed their livelihoods to support the “struggle”.

Read| Voices from Kashmir: Unconditional talks, compassion the way forward

“The current phase of the freedom struggle has provided a powerful push towards our goal of freedom, which is very much in sight,” he wrote.

He also thanked Pakistan for being a “friend” and “well wisher”.

“Pakistan and its people shared our pain and raised their voice in our support…Pakistan and its people have taken an ethical stand to support our struggle morally, politically and diplomatically.”

He also thanked China, Norway, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Iran, Turkey and to the Organization of Islamic countries (OIC).

Read| PDP-BJP on the rocks as Centre’s talks tough on separatists, Afspa

First Published: Sep 09, 2016 15:45 IST