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Sparks at a meet on Kashmir

Farooq Abdullah and Syed Ali Shah Geelani sparred in public here with the former Chief Minister asking him to give up his "movement of violence" in Jammu and Kashmir and telling him secession can never be accepted.



New Delhi: Farooq Abdullah and Syed Ali
Shah Geelani on Saturday sparred in public here with the former
Chief Minister asking him to give up his "movement of
violence" in Jammu and Kashmir and telling him secession can
never be accepted.

Accusing the separatist leader of leading a violent
campaign in Jammu and Kashmir, he also ruled out the state
returning to pre-1947 position or the possibility of holding
a plebiscite in the state, a demand pressed by Geelani.
Participating in a discussion on "Kashmir, What Next"
at the "India Today" conclave, Abdullah counselled Geelani,
Chairman of hardline Hurriyat Conference, to take the cue from
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat who he said he gave up a
violent struggle in the larger interest of peace.

Geelani, who was surprised at the presence of
Abdullah, who took the place of BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who
failed to turn up, on the dais but heard him patiently, was
heard murmuring to the moderator why he was not told about the
Union Minister being part of the panel of speakers.
"Farooq sahab was not one of the speakers. My elders
have said, and I am sure your elders would have also said,
that if someone is sick, he can be treated but habits cannot
be treated," he remarked sarcastically.

In his speech, Geelani said the problem of Kashmir is
one of "broken promises" right from the beginning.

However, he was attacked by another panelist Arif Mohd
Khan, a former Union Minister, who said that Geelani had
contested Assembly elections in which one has to affirm faith
in the Indian constitution.

"But now now look at the freedom in this country. He
(Geelani) has the freedom to trash the Constitution he once
took oath under," Khan said.

Indian Muslims, who migrated to Pakistan, were still
called `mohajirs` (displaced people), he said adding in India
the present generation does not not even know that Hindus and
Sikhs from Pakistan who came here were once called
`sharanarthi` (refugees).

PTI

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