Vessu: Quoting from the epic
Mahabharata, hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani
on Sunday sought to reach out to the Kashmiri Pandit families who
returned to the Valley after two decades, assuring them that
they would be safe.
81-year-old Geelani drove to the transit camp located
70 kms from Srinagar and addressed nearly 100 Kashmiri Pandit
members who had returned recently after the state government`s
appeal to the people who fled the Valley in the wake of the
outbreak of militancy in 1980s to come back.
While welcoming them, Geelani asked them to move to
their ancestral homes and not live in isolated places. He
assured them that they would be safe as the fight of the
separatists was not against them.
Taking out a leaf from the Mahabharata, Geelani
narrated the famous conversation between Arjuna and Lord
Krishna when Pandavas were taking on the Kaurvas.
"When Arjuna faltered in the fight against Kaurvas,
Maharaj Krishna told him that it was a battle based on
principles. You have to fight even own brothers for
principles," Geelani said while claiming that his struggle was
based on principles.
"I welcome you on behalf of the majority community.
You are being called migrants, but you are not migrants. You
are our brothers, you are a part of this society, you are a
part of our body," Geelani said.
Geelani also quoted Quranic verses about humanity and
"Our fight with them (Centre) is based on principles
and we will not negotiate on our principles," he said.
Later, members of the Pandit community spoke to
Geelani about issues ranging from proper accommodation,
salaries to ration.
The Hurriyat leader later visited another Kashmiri
Pandit transit camp at Mattan in south Kashmir`s Anantnag
At the camp, while talking to members of the minority
community, Geelani asked them to return to their ancestral
"Our stand is that you should not have been put in
these separate zones but you should return to your homes where
you lived 20 years ago. You should live with your neighbours,"
Maharaj Kishan Kaul, who lived in Dal-Seer village in
Anantang district before migrating to Jammu in 1990 and is now
living in the camp in Mattan, said Geelani`s visit is an
"important step" for them.
"For a month, I wanted to go to my village but I felt
insecure. We were waiting for Geelani`s call," he said.
At the Vessu camp, Rohit Singh Jamwal, who was two
years old when his family migrated from their ancestral
village in Kulgam, said it felt good to be here.
"But we feel insecure.... insecure to move out in the
market because you never know. What we want is the support of
the majority community and Geelani`s visit is a bit of
relief," Jamwal, a teacher and an IAS aspirant, said.
As Geelani left the camp in Mattan, he was followed by
a large cavalcade of police vehicles, including senior police
officials, who were monitoring his movement.
The Hurriyat leader later went to the houses of the
four youth who were killed during protests last year.