January 2001 News

Muslims are a nation, Kashmir not political issue - Geelani

3 January 2001
The Indian Express

Srinagar: In a reference to his liberal colleagues in the Hurriyat Conference and a sharpening of the conflict within the conglomerate, Syed Ali Shah Geelani today said attempts were being made to create confusion by projecting the on-going struggle in Kashmir as a political rather than a religious one. 'Today it is being said that the struggle is for the restoration ofKashmiriyat and national identity. The youth should guard against sucha campaign aimed at spreading confusion,' he said. The Islamist was addressing a gathering on Eid-milan (Eid get-together) function at his Hyderpora residence. The Jamat leader said Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists were equal citizens of the state. But at the same time the Muslims were part of Milat(an extended Muslim nation). Nobody should be allowed to disintegrate the Milat. 'Those who are opposing this concept are trying to destroy our existence,' he averred. The firebrand leader thundered that 'if the political struggle of Muslims does not fall within the ambit of Islam, it cannot lead to salvation.' Geelani was in fact spitting out the bitterness of yesterday's meeting which failed to evolve a consensus on the composition of the Hurriyat team that is scheduled to go to Pakistan on January 15. Information now available from sources said Geelani and his liberal colleagues, especially Abdul Gani Lone and Yasin Malik, had clashed on the role of the mujahideen. Without identifying any leader, Geelani said: 'I told a friend of mine that this confusion is due to the fact that we are not maintaining one line on theissues. He (friend) told me that's politics which you haven't learnt inthe past 40 years.' The head of the Jamat-e-Islami's political wing also justified the role offoreign mujahideen, saying it was incumbent on all Muslims to come to thehelp and rescue of their oppressed brethren anywhere in the world. 'This very feeling of being part of the Milat attracts mujahideen fromSaudi Arabia, Africa, Sudan, Afghanistan etc to Kashmir,' he said. The hardcore leader attacked secular politics, saying it was being preached to sideline Islam and the main issue. 'Just look at history and see for yourself what this secularism has given us?' he asked, adding 'nothing, it has only disfigured the specific identity of our nation (people)'. Referring to Partition, Geelani said today after 50 years, the people of India and Pakistan are living in constant fear of being wiped out in a nuclear conflict. This is because the two nations are at loggerheads on the issue of Kashmir. The secularists preferred India in 1947 on the grounds that they would have plenty to eat and enjoy.


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