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Gilani demands release of all Hurriyat leaders, activists

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SRINAGAR: Chairman Hurriyat Conference (G) Syed Ali Geelani has threatened to launch a ‘major’ agitation if government didn’t release the pro-freedom leaders, activists and protesters who were arrested for their participation in the pro-freedom rallies during last month. The veteran leader endorsed the program given by the Coordination Committee (CC)- an amalgam of various pro-freedom parties, traders, lawyers and members of the civil society- on Wednesday, calling for peaceful protests after Friday prayers and complete shutdown on Saturday.

“We condemn the arrest of many pro-freedom leaders and activists who have been detained under the draconian Public Safety Act. We ask the government to release all the pro-freedom leaders and activists booked after the recent agitation. We are setting the deadline of ending Ramadaan for the government to release them otherwise we would announce a major program against the Indian policies and its terrorism in Kashmir,” said Geelani, addressing his maiden press conference after he was released from week-long detention.

Geelani accused New Delhi and state government of “targeting” the leadership of Hurriyat Conference factions and Tehreek-e-Hurriyat. “Hundreds and hundreds of Kashmir youth have been arrested and injured during the recent agitation. People are being harassed for their participation in the pro-freedom rallies. The leaders and political workers of both the factions of Hurriyat Conference and Tehreek-e-Hurriyat are being targeted by India and her agencies,” Geelani said.

He said Shabir Ahmad Shah of Hurriyat (M), Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai and Mehraj-ud-Din Kalwal of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, Aasiya Andrabi of Dukhtaran-e-Millat have been booked under PSA. He said Ayaz Akbar is under arrest in Sumbal police station, police is after Nayeem Khan of Hurriyat (M), Masarat Alam of Hurriyat (G) and leader of Islamic Students League, Shakeel Bakshi, has been beaten to the pulp by the troops.

“The pro-freedom leaders and political workers are targeted throughout the Valley by Indian forces. This is a fact but we want to tell India and her agencies that the more it will try to suppress the ongoing freedom struggle in Kashmir, it will grow more,” Geelani said. In Varmul, Geelani said the troops and police “have crossed all the limits of committing atrocities.” “CRPF and police raid the houses of youth who participated in the rallies, beat them and damage their household goods. This is a crime committed by India and her agencies on unarmed and peaceful civilians,” Geelani said.

Endorsing the program of CC for coming Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Geelani said there would be no change in the program, though the CC hadn’t taken his consent for the program. People, Geelani said, should observe peaceful protests as per the program on Friday. Geelani said they reject the agreement signed by the government and the Sangarsh Samiti with regard to the forest land in Baltal “On Saturday there would be shutdown as per the CC program to reject the accord between the government and the Samiti. It will be a shutdown against the state terrorism in Kashmir,” Geelani said. The CC, Geelani said, would again meet on Sunday to discuss future program.

Earlier, Geelani out rightly rejected the rumors about the chairmen of Hurriyat factions meeting any higher Indian official. However, he said Director General of Police, Kuldeep Khuda, and Inspector General of Police, SM Sahai, met him when he was under custody during the curfew days. “When the whole media is gagged by the government, the rumors spread like wild fire,” Geelani said. Geelani said he had a brief conversation with IGP. “After listening to my pro-freedom arguments, he (Sahai) said that I was not in a good mood,” Geelani said.

The DGP, Geelani said, was next to meet him. “It was a pleasant talk with the DGP. It was my first meet with him. He inquired about my health and the books authored by me. I promised him to send a set of my books so that he can understand our program,” Geelani said. “The DGP suggested that we should talk to the government to resolve the issue. I told him that the dialogue process is going on from 1952 without any results,” the veteran leader said.

Geelani appealed people to maintain discipline while following the CC program. He thanked the government officials, including the police officers, who had come into contact with him during his detention.-SANA

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