We must act cautiously'

Published : Aug 27, 2010 00:00 IST

S.A. Geelani: There is no disconnect between the leadership and the people.-NISSAR AHMAD

S.A. Geelani: There is no disconnect between the leadership and the people.-NISSAR AHMAD

EXCERPTS from an interview with Syed Ali Shah Geelani, head of the Hurriyat's hard-line faction.

You surprised everyone by calling for peaceful protests and by speaking against arson.

The resistance movement is more precious than my life. We, as a nation, have to show maturity at every level. We are fighting for the right to self-determination and the complete withdrawal of the occupational forces. No step that puts our goal backstage should be encouraged. India is exploiting stone-pelting and trying to portray that they [the forces] are fighting a lethal enemy in Kashmir, which is not true. The Government of India has not even once touched the cause behind the protests and the anger of the people.

What is the connection between the youth and the separatist leaders?

The aspirations of the youth are always respected and are determining factors in resistance movements. There is no disconnect between the leadership and the people. But we have to continuously do a cost-benefit analysis. Stone-throwing is an act of self-defence. But are we able to defend ourselves with this? We cannot afford to lose our energies. Our actions should not prove counter-productive for us.

What did officials tell you in jail?

The officials from the government met me in jail without my permission. They asked me if the resistance leadership had a change of guard in their minds. I said the people are fighting for the complete withdrawal of the forces and for the right to self-determination. Go India Go is the slogan. We are fighting a powerful enemy, and as common, unarmed civilians we need to act very cautiously and consciously.

Is there a division of opinion on your call?

The agents of the government and other pro-India parties are trying to create confusion and spread negative propaganda among the masses. Situations like these make it clear who is with the greater cause and who wants the people's sacrifices to go waste. The hypocrites against the movement will pretend to be pro-freedom and [try to] create a divide.

Shujaat Bukhari
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