Geelani not to meet all-party delegation

Terming the planned visit by an all-party delegation to Jammu and Kashmir an “eyewash,” the hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Geelani said his party would not meet it.

The delegation, headed by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, is scheduled to visit the State from Monday.

Mr. Geelani, scrapping the programme of marching towards Army camps, has instead asked people to raise their voice for demilitarisation at their respective district headquarters.

In a statement here, Mr. Geelani said the delegation had been given the mandate to talk within the framework of the Constitution but “that is not going to help in moving forward to resolve the Kashmir dispute.”

He said Kashmir was a 63-year-old dispute, and India and Pakistan had held 150 rounds of talks during the period but failed to reach any agreement. “We are not against the dialogue process but before that certain measures are necessary,” he said. He reiterated the five-point formula in which he had called for withdrawal of forces, release of prisoners and punishment to those responsible for recent killings. He had also wanted India to accept Kashmir as a dispute.

Mr. Geelani claimed that while the government was “[making every effort to] suppress the genuine democratic movement in Kashmir,” in a single day 17 people were killed, which made it clear “to what extent the government can go to muzzle our voice.”