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Geelani asks for right to self-determination
Sets pre-conditions for talks with government
Ehsan Fazili
Tribune News Service

Srinagar, August 7
Resolving not to accept anything short of the right to self-determination, hardline APHC leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani here today termed the leaders as “traitors” who took shortcuts by entering into a dialogue with the Central Government.

He put certain pre-conditions, including a complete withdrawal of troops, and asked India to accept Jammu and Kashmir as disputed, prior to any talks with the government. The “sacrifices” of over one lakh people during the past 16 years were not for “autonomy, self-governance, Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service, ceasefire or soft borders and the elections to get power”, he said.

Geelani was addressing a mammoth public rally on the occasion of the first foundation day of his party, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Jammu and Kashmir”, at Hyderpora on the outskirts of the city here today. “We will not support these people”, he said in an overt reference to the moderate faction of the APHC led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, which had two rounds of talks with the NDA government.

Geelani parted ways with the APHC over two years back and led his faction of the APHC with the constitution of his Tehreek-e-Hurriyat last year outside his parent organisation, the Jamaat-e-Islami. He challenged the “forced occupation” of the disputed region of Jammu and Kashmir that still awaits a resolution in accordance with the aspirations of its people.

The APHC leader appealed to the UN Secretary-General not to give permanent seat to India in the UN Security Council, for it had not fulfilled its promises made to the people of Jammu and Kashmir over 57 years ago. He condemned the killings in the London blasts on July 7 and regretted that Muslims were globally branded as “terrorists” after 9/11. The Islam, he said, was a religion of peace and tolerance. Geelani, however, regretted the role of the USA and UK in Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Geelani said India’s “forced occupation” against the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir continued without addressing the basic issue as he listed a series of incidents of alleged innocent killings in Jammu and Kashmir at the hands of security forces.

He said peaceful means and democratic ways of the people of the state for getting their right had gone futile, adding that the youth had chosen their way out with a conviction. He resolved that his party would continue its “peaceful struggle for the right to self-determination.”

Two resolutions were passed on the occasion, which laid certain pre-conditions before entering into a dialogue with the Central Government. These conditions included a complete withdrawal of troops, to begin with from towns and from Jammu and Kashmir to create a peaceful and congenial atmosphere for talks.

The resolutions asked India to accept the disputed status of Jammu and Kashmir as “all other statements and assurances are unsatisfactory”.

The Tehreek-e-Hurriyat in its 13-point conditions demanded dissolving the Armed Forces Special Powers Act and Disturbed Area Act and release of all the detainees and dissolving of Task Force and Special Operations Group of the police. It also assured the non-Muslim population of the state that the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat was not against any community but for the right to self-determination of the people of all its regions, Jammu, Kashmir, Ladakh, Gilgit, Baltistan and PoK.

While demanding the release of all detainees, Geelani sought the release of Mohammad Afzal Gooru of Sopore in north Kashmir. Afzal’s death sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court on Tuesday in connection with the Parliament attack. Geelani sought the release of all the detainees as also those serving life term describing them as “political prisoners and not criminals”.

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