Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s statements that two emissaries of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, met him to seek his engagement on Kashmir dialogue and a “pro-freedom organisation” was in secret liaison with the Indian political leadership have triggered a storm in the Kashmiri separatist camp.
In an unusually prompt but terse reaction, the chairman of Hurriyat’s moderate faction, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, lashed out at Mr. Geelani for his “irresponsible statement.” “He has not patented the Kashmir freedom movement,” Mr. Farooq said adding that the octogenarian separatist leader had a many a time created an atmosphere of mistrust and suspicion, leading to political assassinations in Kashmir.
Mr. Farooq held Mr. Geelani responsible for the killing of his father, Mirwaiz Farooq, separatist leader Abdul Gani Lone and relatives of other Hurriyat leaders. “Who does he want to die this time?” he asked demanding that Mr. Geelani identify the group and the separatists who he believed were holding secret talks with New Delhi.
Defending Mr. Geelani’s revelations, his spokesman, Ayaz Akbar, said in a statement that the separatist leader had not named any leader or group. Leaders from different parties had been asking Mr. Geelani to identify the two Kashmiri Pandits who he claimed met him on behalf of Mr. Modi on March 22.
“We are under oath not to reveal their names. But surely they met ‘Geelani Sahib’ on behalf of Modi. If anybody is interested in knowing who the two gentlemen were, he should verify their names with Mr. Modi, whose party, in a fit of frustration, is now denying such a meeting,” Mr. Akbar said.