Geelani damaged Kashmir movement more than Indian Army: Sajjad Lone

November 26th, 2008 - 10:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, Nov 26 (IANS) Fissures in the Kashmiri separatist camp became evident when octogenarian Syed Ali Geelani and young leader Sajjad Lone Wednesday accused each other of damaging “freedom movement”.Sajjad Lone, chairman of the Peoples Conference, referred to Geelani “as an ex-lawmaker from Sopore who was seen as a murderer” and said he had done more damage to the freedom movement in Kashmir than the Indian Army.

“The Indian Army has not been able to do so much damage to the freedom movement in Kashmir as Geelani has done to it,” Lone said.

Sajjad Lone was reacting to Geelani’s earlier accusations that he and his elder brother Bilal, also a separatist leader, had fielded their sister Shabnum Lone and some others from their party as proxy candidates from the north Kashmir Kupwara district which goes to polls Sunday.

“I swear by the holy Quran that I have not fielded anybody as a proxy candidate from anywhere for the elections here,” Sajjad said.

“If Geelani proves his allegations, I will quit politics and leave Kashmir never to return back. In case he fails to prove his wild accusations, Geelani must be prepared to do the same,” Lone told reporters at his uptown residence here.

The fissures became evident five months after separatist leaders claimed unity in the wake of the Amarnath land agitation in June-July this year. A coordination committee was formed and chairmen of the Hurriyat factions, Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, were appointed its joint heads.

The separatist leaders were functioning under the coordination committee as Lone was its spokesperson. The committee had given a stern boycott poll only to be defied by the people.

At least 64 and 65 percent of voters exercised their franchise in the fist and second phase of the staggered elections in Jammu and Kashmir that end Dec 24.

The separatist Hurriyat Conference broke up in 2003 when Geelani first accused Lone brothers of fielding proxy candidates.

Lone said that he had met his sister only twice in 10 years. “Yes, other two persons, Sofi Mohiuddin and Engineer Rashid who are also fighting elections from Kupwara district, had past association with the Peoples Conference, but we have not fielded them as our party stands for total boycott of these elections.”

Lone alleged his sister Shabnum had instead been meeting Geelani, who had wanted her to head the Peoples Conference after the murder of their father Abdul Gani Lone in May 2002.

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