SRINAGAR: Senior separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani said he was not in absolute control of the situation in the Kashmir Valley and blamed pro-Indian forces for the bloodshed that has left over 30 people dead in violent street protests.
In an interview at his heavily-barricaded Srinagar residence, Geelani said the new generation of Kashmiris was politically more aware as well as sensitive. They are facing “brutal forces fearlessly”, he said.
“We cannot say we are in absolute control of the situation,” said the 87-year-old chairman of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference — an amalgam of Kashmiri separatist groups.
He, however, quickly added that the young Kashmiris participating in the widespread violent protests were “influenced” by the Hurriyat ideology of “resistance against India”.
“They have learnt it from us. We have influenced them. They follow our shutdown calls. But they are more determined,” Geelani said.
The ailing separatist leader has been under house arrest off and on since 2010 and suffers from multiple ailments. Asked if the separatist political leadership had failed Kashmir’s new generation in giving them alternatives to the gun to claim democratic and political rights, Geelani blamed “pro-Indian forces and the Indian government for creating Burhan Wanis”.
“India shows no respect for humanity, fundamental rights of Kashmiris.” He mocked at the Jammu and Kashmir government for urging the Hurriyat to restore peace to Kashmir.
“The government has not allowed democratic forces to flourish. I am under house arrest since 2010. We are not allowed to meet people. India has unleashed a reign of terror.” The former Jama’at-e-Islami chief alleged that police and paramilitary troopers were “shooting to kill protesters at will.”
He asked the protesters to keep “resisting and venting their anger” but appealed to them not to forget “moral and human values cherished by peace loving people of Kashmir”. “We should not harm Hindus, Sikhs and Christians. They are part of our culture and brotherhood. People visiting us as tourists from across the world should also not be harmed.” Agencies