Say No To Municipal Polls: Geelani To Voters

Say No To Municipal Polls: Geelani To Voters

20 March 2012
Kashmir Observer
Nazir Ganaie

Srinagar: Chairman, Hurriyat Conference (G), Syed Ali Shah Geelani Tuesday called for boycott of the up-coming municipal elections arguing that New Delhi was trumpeting participation in such polls as an alternative to long promised referendum. Addressing his first news conference here after returning from New Delhi, Geelani said that people should keep away from the elections as it damages the “freedom movement”. 'I challenge government to lift restrictions on me and release my associates, and allow us to carryout political activities. I assure you there will be zero percent polling,' he told reporters at his Hyderpora residence. The octogenarian leader continues to be under house arrest after his arrival from New Delhi. He however is allowed to interact with media and meet people visiting him “We challenge that there will be only two percent of voting in the coming elections if we are allowed to canvass against it. The participation in the elections will damage our freedom struggle and makes our destiny and goal farther,” said Geelani. 'The government attempts to cover its human rights violations in the state with these elections,' he said adding 'This is an appeal to the people of my suppressed nation to completely boycott the municipal election'. He also said that India gave a wrong message to the world that participations in elections are alternate to ‘right to self-determination’. Geelani was stationed in New Delhi for three months, where he met some of the civil society members, activists including BJP ideologue and senior Supreme Court lawyer, Ram Jethmalani. Geelani also said that those who participate in elections were against the cause and were enemies of the movement. “Anyone who participates in polls becomes the culprit who goes against the sacred cause of freedom,” said Geelani Lambasting the authorities for his continues arrest and detention of political prisoners in different jails of India Geelani said, “There are thousands languishing in different prisons in Jammu and Kashmir and In India as well, including other activists of Hurriyat Conference.” He said that he has been continuously detained and his movement curbed. “This is a battle of ideas where everyone should be allowed to speak and heard. Everyone has a right to present his opinion and point of view before people,” said Geelani said. The Hurriyat leader said his previous boycott calls failed because the government did not allow him or his party to campaign and meet the people. Asked about the invitation to him by the Pakistani government to visit their country, Geelani said he had no passport. 'How can I travel?' For his continues detention at his residence he said that he had filed a writ in court. “The court has failed to provide any justice,” said Geelani.