Government muzzling my voice--Geelani
Syed Ali Geelani, chairman of the hard-line faction of Hurriyat Conference, flayed the restrictions on his activities as "undemocratic" and alleged that it was aimed at muzzling his voice. "They (government) want to muzzle my voice. But Geelani is not just a person. Geelani is a mission, a movement; no cuts and curbs can restrain this mission," he said adding "with or without Geelani this mission will continue". He, however, said that his mission — struggle for right to self-determination — was peaceful and no hurdles from the government could provoke him to deviate from peaceful means.
Geelani, who was scheduled to address a Friday congregation at Tourist Reception Centre Mosque on Friday, was prevented from addressing the congregation by placing him under house arrest. He said that while mainstream political parties and other groups were given full freedom to carry on their political activities, "curbing me and my associates speaks about the government intentions". "I represent the sentiments of the entire people of Kashmir, which were evident more than sufficiently by the response to my shutdown call on January 17 and the public rally of April 22," he told mediapersons at his Hyderpora residence on Friday afternoon. Mediapersons saw policemen guarding Geelani's house.
"I told them (policemen) if they had any written order from the government for placing me under house arrest, they remained silent. I got the answer. The uniform (
) in itself is order. They (uniformed men) have extraordinary powers. They did not allow me even to offer Friday prayers," he said. The Hurriyat chairman said that he was arrested or placed under house arrest 59 times in the past two years. Describing it as a condemnable act on the part of the government, Geelani said that every peace and freedom-loving person in the world should take note of this "undemocratic and inhuman" act.
Geealni came down heavily on mainstream political parties using his (Geelani's) name. "There is a race among mainstream politics to shower praise on me. Some praise me as indomitable, who could not be lured by offering even all the treasures of India. Some say we freed him from the jail. Some say he (Geelani) should be involved in dialogue," Geelani said adding "these are their gimmicks. They don't mean what they say. They only want to hoodwink voters ahead of elections." The insinuation goes to PDP, National Conference and Peoples Democratic Front, who have indulged in an appeasement game in praising Geelani.
He called for complete boycott of the elections and asked people to remain vigilant from the "hollow promises and shallow praises" of these (mainstream) parties and cautioned them not be swayed away by their slogans of self-rule, autonomy or soft borders. "These are not the solutions to our problem. The only solution to the issue of Kashmir is granting right of self-determination," he said.
Geelani said that he was not against the dialogue process but laid conditions for his participation in talks. "Government of India should accept the disputed status of Kashmir issue. It should withdraw troops, revoke special powers given to them under Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), and release all the jailed persons. Only then a congenial atmosphere can be created for talks," he said.
Geelani said that the dialogue process between India and Pakistan continued from 2002. "Some people in Srinagar also held talks with New Delhi. But what is the outcome?" he asked. "The ground situation in Kashmir has not changed. Human rights violations are still taking place," he said.