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'Please stop Mr Geelani, Kashmiris have had enough'

Last updated on: March 19, 2011 17:58 IST

'Please stop Mr Geelani, Kashmiris have had enough'

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Kashmiri protestors demonstrated outside a five-star hotel in Delhi where separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani was speaking at the India Today Conclave on Saturday.

Geelani, who was speaking on Kashmir: What next, also faced the ire of a displaced Kashmiri man who compared him to dreaded terrorist Osama bin Laden.

Kashmiri protesters played the Thumbak Nari, a traditional drum-like instrument normally used in celebratory ceremonies like weddings, to protest against a man they called an 'anti-nationalist' and a 'murderer.'

Their protest may not have reached Geelani through the thick walls of the luxury hotel, but the 25-odd Kashmiri Pandits and their supporters -- from 61-year-old Nancy Koul to 18-year-old Harpreet Singh -- continued to protest.


Image: Protestors demonstrate against separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani
Photographs: Reuben N V
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'Geelani is a criminal responsible for hundreds of deaths'

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As slogans of Geelani hai hai rent the air, the protestors slammed India Today group which had invited Geelani to be part of the conclave.

"They did this two years ago too, when they invited (Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front chief) Yasin Malik, an anti-nationalist and terrorist who is facing all kinds of charges including murder, and called him their youth icon. Now they have invited a person like Geelani, who is a criminal responsible for hundreds of deaths and for the shutdown of Kashmir last summer, and asked him to share the dais in a forum where other speakers include the prime minister (Manmohan Singh), a chief minister (Narendra Modi) and other big names," rued Amal Magazine.


Image: Protestors demonstrate against separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani
Photographs: Reuben N V
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'Kashmiris have suffered enough'

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Magazine, 29, is an investment consultant based in Faridabad. His parents were forced to flee Kashmir 20 years ago.

A member of the Kashmiri youth organisation called Roots In Kashmir, Magazine believes the India Today Group has done those who have suffered in Kashmir a disservice by lending Geelani a platform to voice his opinion.

"This is a man who has already issued the slogan, khoon ka badla June mein (we will avenge bloodshed in June). This is a man who openly says he is a Pakistani. This is a man on whom the Indian government spends your money and my money -- lakhs of it -- for his security and his medication. This is a man who does not want an Indian passport but who has no problem taking his pension as an ex-legislator and using India's resources," he fumed.

When queried on what he would say if he ever met Geelani, Magazine said, "I would tell him just one thing -- please stop Mr Geelani. The people of Kashmir -- both the Hindus and the Muslims -- have had enough. They have suffered enough. Peace is the most important thing."


Image: Protestors demonstrate against separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani
Photographs: Reuben N V
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