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Posted at: Apr 16, 2015, 11:01 AM; last updated: Apr 16, 2015, 11:01 AM (IST)

Geelani, Masarat hold anti- India rally

Separatists booked for raising Pak flags

Need to engage separatists: Mufti

  • J-K Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Wednesday said Kashmir was a political issue and it needed to be addressed by taking along all stakeholders
  • Mufti said he understood Hurriyat Conference’s viewpoint which needed to be addressed too. He also stressed engaging the separatists in resolving the Kashmir issue..
Geelani, Masarat hold anti- India rally
Hardline Hurriyat faction chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani (C) with general secretary Masarat Alam Bhat (R) in Srinagar. Amin war

Azhar Qadri

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, April 15

The ubiquitous restrictions on Syed Ali Shah Geelani were missing on Wednesday as the hardline separatist returned home from New Delhi and addressed a rally that was overshadowed by Masarat Alam’s showstopper anti-India sloganeering and display of Pakistani flags.

Geelani made a show of strength by addressing the rally of few thousand supporters, whom the administration allowed to gather outside his Hyderpora residence on the city outskirts.

No police presence was in sight in the vicinity of Geelani’s residence, where the rally was held, a sign of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s unfolding policy of providing space to separatists. The previous state government had cracked down hard and curtailed the activities of hardline separatists like Geelani and Alam by keeping them “out of circulation” through detentions at home and in prison.
At Geelani’s rally, however, his key deputy’s shadow was deep as crowds refused to go home without hearing from Alam, whose last month release after four years of detentions had created a political storm.
Alam, who grew in separatist circles after spearheadeding the 2010 agitation, responded by raising a series of anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans, including those favouring militants like Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin and LeT chief Hafiz Sayeed. “Hafiz Sayeed ka kya paigaam (What is Hafiz Sayeed’s message),” Alam shouted. “Kashmir banega Pakistan (Kashmir will become Pakistan),” the crowd replied vociferously. This was Alam’s first political appearnace since his arrest in October 2010. Earlier, Geelani made a guarded statement to a cheering crowd of supporters who had arrived here from across the region. Geelani vowed to end the status-quo and said he was “not interested” in who has formed the government.

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