Geelani Slams Muslims For Godhra Carnage
17 March 2002
H Bula Devi
New Delhi: Nobody expected Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, considered a hardliner in the executive body, to ever
point a finger at Muslims. But he was the first Muslim leader to publicly condemn the Godhra incident a day after it took place.
He accused local Muslims of being involved in the carnage. Since a myth has been created that the firebrand leader is biased,
the statement came as a surprise in the Kashmir Valley too. The leader faced a lot of flak for having made such a statement.
Condemning this criticism, he termed the incident 'loathsome and inhuman' as 60 'unarmed' people had been killed. lie also said
that it was the duty of everyone to severely condemn such gruesome killings. The intention were clear since kar sevaks were
travelling in the train, he said, adding that the manner in which they were attacked reflected a 'superlative degree of inhuman
attitude'. He also said that the upsurge following the Godhra incident was on expected lines. The VHP leaders who accused
Muslim leaders of not issuing statements condemning the incident, certainly overlooked Geelani's words. The first statement by
the Jamait-e-Islami leader was on 28 february in the Valley in Urdu, the second statement was released on 11 March in English
outside the Valley in which the leader also asked the entire Muslim Umah to come forward for the 'sake of humanity' and help
the victims of the Gujarat violence 'without any discrimination on any grounds'. Geelani appealed to everyone to forget past
differences and sectarian allegiances. He urged them to set aside their personal egos and work for the country to save it from
the dangerous effects of growing communal hatred. The Gujarat situation, he said, has created an atmosphere that has forced
Muslims and other minority communities to ponder over the means to face the fascist mind set. He appealed to his community
to be united and stand for the values of Islam.