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Updated: September 19, 2010 02:32 IST

Geelani not to meet all-party team

Shujaat Bukhari
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Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
PTI Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

Terming the visit of the all-party delegation to Jammu and Kashmir on Monday an “eyewash,” the hard-line Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Geelani said his party would not meet it.

The delegation, headed by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, is scheduled to visit the State from Monday.

Mr. Geelani, scrapping the programme of marching towards Army camps, has instead asked people to raise their voice for demilitarization at their respective district headquarters.

In a statement here, Mr. Geelani said the delegation had been given the mandate to talk within the framework of the Indian Constitution but “that is not going to help in moving forward to resolve the Kashmir dispute.”

He said Kashmir was a 63-year-old dispute, and India and Pakistan had held 150 rounds of talks during the period but failed to reach any agreement. “We are not against the dialogue process but before that certain measures are necessary,” he said, reiterating the five-point formula in which he had called for withdrawal of forces, release of prisoners and punishment to those responsible for recent killings. He had also reiterated that India should accept Kashmir as a dispute.

Mr. Geelani claimed that while the government was “[making every effort to] suppress the genuine democratic movement in Kashmir,” in a single day 17 people were killed, which made it clear “to what extent the government can go to muzzle our voice.”

He also asked those preparing to welcome the delegation or meeting it to desist from doing so, as it would be tantamount to showing disrespect to the “blood of martyrs.” However, he asked the people to register their protest with placards when the delegation passes through their area.

3 more civilians killed

Even as the authorities relaxed curfew here for some hours, three more civilians were killed in clashes with security forces in Anantnag and Pattan areas on Saturday.

At least 20 people were injured.

With one youth dying of injuries in hospital and the body of a missing youth allegedly chased by security forces being fished out of the Jhelum, the death toll in the unrest since June 11 has gone up to 103.

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