The BJP on Saturday rejected Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s claims that the party’s PM candidate Narendra Modi had sent emissaries to him to open dialogue on the Kashmir issue.
Moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, too, slammed Geelani for his claims, while J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah asked the separatist leader to identify the emissaries who met him. Either Modi or Geelani was lying, Omar said.
“The BJP strongly condemns the mischievous, false, motivated and irresponsible statement by Geelani that two alleged representatives of Modi had met him. It is categorically denied that anyone for or on behalf of Modi ever met Geelani,” BJP deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad said.
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Prasad dismissed speculation that the party was revising its stance on Kashmir. “BJP’s view is well known that J&K is an integral part of India which is not negotiable,” Prasad said.
BJP also rejected Geelani’s claims on its Twitter handle as well as through a statement. The party dared Geelani either to substantiate his claims or apologise to the country.
On Friday, in a veiled reference to Mirwaiz, Geelani had said that some separatist leaders through media statements have already said Modi would be soft on Kashmir. “These leaders have actually met the emissaries of Modi,” he had claimed.
Taking Geelani head-on for the first time and warning him of protests, an angry Mirwaiz described his statement as irresponsible and said Hurriyat has not met any emissary of BJP or Modi. “We didn’t talk to anyone; whenever we talked we did it in public view,” he said.
He said Geelani was making such statements to create confusion among the people in Kashmir. “I don’t know who he wants to get killed this time,” Mirwaiz said. “Don’t compel us to come on streets.”
Omar, meanwhile, tweeted, “So who is lying SAS Geelani or the NaMo campaign? Easy way to find out — let SASG identify the emissaries who met him on behalf of NaMo.”
Omar also wanted to know what Geelani was offered by the emissaries. “Given BJP’s position on Art 370 & Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) can we know who these NaMo emissaries were & what was on offer? Why the secrecy?” he wrote.
When contacted, Geelani said he stands by his comments. “What I said on Friday I stand by that,” he told The Sunday Express. “I will never disclose the names (of the two emissaries) because of the commitment made with them.”