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Do not give passport to Geelani, Mirwaiz said

The turf war between the moderate and hardline factions of the Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir came under the WikiLeaks spotlight on Sunday. HT reports.

india Updated: Sep 05, 2011 00:48 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
kashmir,jammu and kashmir,Hurriyat Conference

The turf war between the moderate and hardline factions of the Hurriyat Conference in Kashmir came under the WikiLeaks spotlight on Sunday.

According to American diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, moderate leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq counselled against issuing of a passport to hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani who wanted to go to the US for medical treatment, saying he would "stir up trouble".

"When we met (the) Mirwaiz in February, he said it would be a big mistake for the GOI (Government of India) to issue Geelani a passport to travel, because he would stir up trouble," said a March 2007 US embassy cable.

The cable with a subject title, Kashmiri Rejectionist Hardliner Geelani Seeks US Visa was written by Pyatt - apparently the then US charge d'affaires in New Delhi Geoffrey Pyatt.

Geelani had applied for a visa to travel to the US for treatment for cancer in his remaining kidney.

The US had later denied him as visa. While making a cost-benefit analysis of issuing a visa, the US official believed Geelani's travel to the US would "physically" take him out of the political picture in India.

"(The) Mirwaiz will not have Geelani breathing down his neck in a delicate political moment in the Valley," the diplomatic cable said, referring to the Indo-Pakistan dialogue process.

Washington had mulled an alternative plan of sending Geelani to a third country like Singapore where he would not engage in as much "grandstanding or fundraising" supported by the local Kashmiri community.

Reacting to the contents of the cable, the Mirwaiz denied being part of any such conversation.

"I have no authority to issue passports or visas. So why would I ask people not to issue any passport to Geelani sahib?" he asked.

"In fact, when we went to Pakistan in the bus (in 2005), we insisted that Geelani sahib be part of the delegation."

Another leaked cable from February 2007 to the US state department under the title Preparing For Elections, said the Mirwaiz was contemplating contesting the elections in Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections in 2008.

In another cable titled Kashmiri Politics As Filthy as Dal Lake, US diplomats said corruption in the Valley cut across party lines.

"Most Kashmiris take it as an article of faith that politically-connected Kashmiris take money from both India and Pakistan," the cable said.

With agency inputs

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First Published: Sep 04, 2011 17:09 IST