Negotiations the only option, says Geelani

Hurriyat leader’s statement comes day after Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s offer of dialogue

Updated - June 09, 2017 11:52 pm IST

Published - June 09, 2017 11:48 pm IST - Srinagar

Streets of dissent:  A protester throws back a teargas shell fired by police during a protest in Srinagar on Friday.

Streets of dissent: A protester throws back a teargas shell fired by police during a protest in Srinagar on Friday.

Even as a shutdown call by separatists sparked evoked violent protests in Kashmir on Friday, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani said “Negotiations are the only option”, a day after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh offered a dialogue to resolve the crisis.

Calling for “meaningful tripartite talks”, 86-year-old Mr. Geelani asked New Delhi to respect the peoples’ aspirations. “Instead of taking sincere steps, India is relying on military might. Sincere measures are needed to resolve the Kashmir issue, and negotiations are the only option.”

Mr. Geelani’s statement assumes significance in the wake of Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s offer to talks on Thursday where he said “the Centre was ready for dialogue in Kashmir without any preconditions.”

Mr. Geelani also described Indian Army chief General Bipin Rawat remarks that individual officers were entitled to decide their strategies depending on circumstances in Valley, as “an illustration of a colonial mindset”. “Kashmir is a political issue. It does not befit a commander to discuss political issue,” the Hurriyat leader said.

Clashes during shutdown

Despite curfew-like restrictions in parts of Kashmir, protesters clashed with security forces in seven districts. One boy suffered eye injuries.

Fresh protests were sparked by the killing of a student, Adil Ahmad Magray, during a search operation on Saturday in Shopian. The separatists’ shutdown call affected normal life as most offices and business centres remained closed. However, the authorities prevented marches by separatists by detaining Mr. Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in their residences. JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik was detained when he tried to lead a protest against the killing of Adil Farooq Magray.

Trains suspended

There were restrictions in Srinagar’s six police stations. The train services were also suspended. No Friday prayers were allowed at the historic Jamia Masjid. Authorities suspended classes in all schools and colleges of Kashmir Valley on Friday.

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