Srinagar: Hardline Hurriyat leader Syed
Ali Shah Geelani on Sunday backed out of the `India Today`
conclave, saying he could not share the dais with National
Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon as he represented the
In a letter to noted journalist MJ Akbar, Editorial
Director of India Today, Geelani expressed his inability to
attend the March 19 session where he was to speak on future of
Kashmir alongwith senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi.
"I came to know that the session will be presided by
National Security Advisor. That makes me unable to participate
in view of our consistent policy of non-engagement with
the Government of India until it accepts our five-point demand,"
Geelani said in the letter.
The hardline leader was scheduled to take part in the
breakfast session of the conclave on March 19 in Delhi where
he and Joshi were the speakers with Menon in the chair.
In August last year, Geelani had announced his
five-point formula which included asking Centre to acknowledge
Kashmir as an international dispute, start the process of
"demilitarisation", release political prisoners and take
action against security personnel allegedly involved in the
killings during the summer unrest.