Even as Jammu and Kashmir government released the separatist leaders after a flip flop ahead of their visit to New Delhi, Hurriyat Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani continues to be under detention.
“He (Geelani) continues to be under house arrest and the policemen continue to camp outside his residence,” Hurriyat spokesman Ayaz Akbar told The Indian Express. “As of now, there is no indication (from police and government) that he will be released”.
A heavy contingent of police is camped outside the 84-year-old separatist leader’s Hyderpora residence and nobody is allowed inside the residence.
Though after the intervention of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, the government released most of the separatist leaders from house detention – a move that was aimed at preventing the separatists from meeting Sartaj Aziz in New Delhi – Geelani is the only separatist leader not be released.
Geelani’s house detention assumes significance because he is seen as the strongest and most credible separatist voice in Kashmir and holds sway over the major part of the separatist constituency in the state. And the talks between Aziz and the separatist leaders of the state would be incomplete without his participation.
The Hurriyat leader was put under house detention by the Omar Abdullah led NC-Congress coalition government in July 2010 after the massive anti-India street protests in the valley. After three years under house detention, the separatist leader was released for a month in November 2013 but was again put under house detention after he addressed five massive public rallies across Kashmir.
When in opposition the ruling Peoples Democratic Party had been frequently condemning the house arrest of Geelani promising his release once they come to power. In fact, the PDP patron and now Chief Minister Mufti talked about “battle of ideas” saying he will engage with separatists.
But the Mufti government in J-K continued with the policy of Omar Abdullah and kept Geelani under house detention at his residence in Srinagar. It has been five years now that Geelani is under house arrest barring during his visits to New Delhi during the winter. In fact, in 2013, he was put under house arrest in New Delhi as well when Mohammad Afzal Guru was executed in Tihar.
The ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says Geelani would be released when he will leave for New Delhi. “I assure you, he would be released, the day he has to leave for Delhi,” PDP Chief Spokesman Mehboob Beg told The Indian Express.
When asked why Geelani is continuously being put under house arrest when PDP patron Mufti talks about “battle of ideas”, he said: “It shouldn’t have happened, but separatists too have some responsibilities. We released Masarat Alam, even with a limited mandate, but he waved Pakistani flags”.