In an apparent fall-out of holding funeral prayers for Osama bin Laden, an European Union delegation snubbed hard-line Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani by cancelling a scheduled meeting.
"A meeting was initially planned for May 14 with Syed Ali Shah Geelani, but given the latest events, the EU delegation considers it inopportune to hold the meeting," a statement from the delegation said.
Although the EU delegation, which has met a cross-section of leaders during their four day stay in Kashmir, did not given any reason for the cancellation of the meeting, it is widely believed that the funeral prayers held by Geelani on May 6 for bin Laden had put off the plans of the visitors.
It also called off a meeting with members of the Kashmir Bar Association. The funeral prayers for the Al Qaeda chief, who was killed in an operation by US Navy SEALs in Pakistan on May 2, evoked a muted response.
Geelani and the Bar Association were the only groups which organised and participated in it.
Reacting to the delegation's decision, the Geelani faction of the Hurriyat said "by staying away, they have dishonoured the will of majority of Kashmiris".
"We have made it clear that we can have difference with the ways of Osama, but disrespecting his body was a grave human rights violation. We were expecting that the EU, which claims to be a champion of human rights, would also raise its voice against this shameful incident," Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar said.
An office bearer of the Bar Association said the meeting with the EU delegation was cancelled by the visitors at the last moment.
"The members of the visiting delegation are supposed to be on fact finding mission to Jammu and Kashmir but either the delegation members are not being allowed to meet the relevant and concerned sections of the society or they do not want to know the truth about the ground situation here," General Secretary of the Association Ghulam Nabi Shaheen said.
The Bar Association has dispatched a memorandum to European Union High Representative and vice president of its delegation to India to convey their displeasure over calling off their meet and to seek their intervention in resolution of the Kashmir issue.
The EU delegation led by the Union's Ambassador to India Danielle Smajda has met Governor N N Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, People's Demcoratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti, Pradesh Congress Committee chief Saifuddin Soz, Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik among others.