Boycott interlocutors, Geelani tells Kashmiris

Last Updated 25 October 2010, 13:30 IST

Addressing the media at his residence, where he was placed under house arrest immediately on arrival from Delhi Sunday, Geelani said: "The Indian government has rejected our five-point demands and, therefore, we have nothing to do with the team of interlocutors appointed by New Delhi."

"I also appeal to the people not to meet the interlocutors and boycott their visit," Geelani said. Although policemen were deployed outside Geelani's residence, no mediaperson was prevented from entering his house where he spoke to them.

The rejection of the interlocutor panel by the Hurriyat Conference has come as a big challenge for the central government representatives - Dilip Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar and M.M. Ansari - who are presently on their four-day maiden visit to the valley.

Admitting that the decision not to interact with the interlocutors by both groups of the separatist Hurriyat Conference was a challenge, Padgaonkar said Sunday: "Yes, it is something we will have to overcome. We shall be knocking doors of those who do not come to meet us. There are no protocol or ego hassles with us."

Geelani also issued a fresh protest calendar beginning Oct 28. It calls for shutdowns and protests up to Nov 8, barring Oct 28, 29, Nov 2 and 4. Geelani spoke about the forthcoming visit of US President Barack Obama to India.

"The last time a US president visited India, Indian security forces killed Sikh villagers in Chattisinghpora," he said, reiterating an allegation that has remained unproven. "We fear they can do anything (similar) around the forthcoming visit."

He was asked about the gradual defiance of his shutdown and protest programmes by people in the Kashmir Valley, which has been reeling under unrest since June 11 with 110 people being killed in firing by security forces.

"I salute the people for complete success of our resistance programme. If anybody is defying it at a personal level, that should be a matter between him and his conscience," he said.

Geelani also endorsed the appeal of Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, who has asked people to march to the offices of the UN Military Observers Group (UNMOG) in Srinagar Oct 27.

"Our goal is common and, therefore, I fully endorse the appeal made by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq," Geelani said. The Indian Army landed in Kashmir Oct 27, 1947 after the Dogra Maharaja, Hari Singh, acceded to India.

(Published 25 October 2010, 13:30 IST)

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