Geelani Rejects India Today Invite6 March 2011
Srinagar: Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani Sunday said he won’t attend the 'India Today' conclave as he could not share the dais with Indian National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon, who represents Government of India. In a letter to noted journalist M J Akbar , Editorial Director of India Today , Geelani expressed his inability to attend the March 19 session where he was to speak on future of Kashmir alongwith senior BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi . 'I came to know that the session will be presided by National Security Advisor. That makes me unable to participate in view of our consistent policy of non-engagement with Government of India (GoI) until it accepts our five-point agenda,' Geelani said in the letter. Geelani was scheduled to take part in the breakfast session of the conclave on March 19 in Delhi where he and Joshi were the speakers with Menon in the chair. He was invited to speak on the Kashmir dispute in the two-day high profile India Today Conclave themed ‘The Changing Balance of Power’ scheduled to begin from March 18 in New Delhi. In August last year, Hurriyat (G) chairman had announced his five-point formula which included asking GoI to acknowledge Kashmir as an international dispute, start the process of demilitarisation, release political prisoners and take action against security men involved in the killings during the summer unrest. The organizers maintain that in the backdrop of last year’s summer unrest, Kashmir remains an emotive issue driving Pakistan to obsessive policy and India to obsessive response. They underscored the need of exploring options for its lasting settlement. In the invitation letter to Geelani, the Editorial Director of India Today and Headlines Today, M.J Akbar, had stated that the Conclave is an international event aimed at charting a bold new future through a free and frank exchange of ideas between the finest minds of the world. “This year an impressive line-up of eminent, internationally renowned speakers will analyze the changing balance of power and turn a spotlight on the emerging world order. We would be honored indeed if you accept our invitation to speak in the breakfast debate titled ‘Kashmir- what next’ on Saturday, March 19, 2011 from 10 am to 11.15 am. There is no one better suited than you to share invaluable insight on the subject. Besides yourself, RSS Chief will also speak in the session,” Akbar stated in the invitation letter.