Srinagar, Feb 22: Asserting that the Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani continues to remain “out of touch” since February 18, Tehrek-e-Hurriyat general secretary, Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Friday said there will be no strike till Monday and people should resume normal life from February 23.
Sehrai said Hurriyat (G) would take a lead in consulting Hurriyat (M), JKLF and other separatist leaders in framing a joint strategy on one point agenda—“return Muhammad Afzal Guru’s body.”
Talking to Greater Kashmir over phone, TeH acting chairman said after observing the response from various quarters that there has to be a joint strategy among the “pro-freedom leaders”, he said: “I got a message from Geelani Sahab (through a source) that people should be conveyed that there will be no strike on February 23, 24 and 25. People should resume normal business till Monday.”
Sehrai said he was having no authority to issue protest calendars. He further clarified that he was part of TeH and not Hurriyat (G).
“Every program comes from Geelani Sahab,” he said. He said there was no contact with Geelani since February 18. “We have come to know that he has been shifted to some unknown place from his New Delhi residence. We could not confirm this as we are not able to contact Geelani,” Sehrai said. On whether Hurriyat (G) would announce any long-term protest calendar on Monday, Sehrai said: “He acts only as mediator between Geelani and the people of Kashmir. If I establish any contact with Geelani Sahab, I will convey whatever he says to the people of Kashmir.”
He said Government of India should lift curbs on Hurriyat (G) chairman and allow him to arrive in Kashmir. “Due to cold weather conditions in Kashmir, Geelani needs to stay in a place like Delhi. He is under house arrest since February 9,” he said. “This is a cause of concern for us. Our demand is that Geelani and all other separatist leaders should be released.”
Sehrai said they would take a lead in consulting Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, JKLF chairman Yasin Malik and all other separatist leaders so that a “joint-strategy” is framed. “This time, we have only one point agenda – return of Guru’s body,” he said. “This is only possible when government will lift curbs on Geelani, Mirwaiz and release all separatist leaders.”
Sehrai, who is suffering from knee problem, said he is not able to walk properly otherwise, he too would have been put behind the bars. “We believe Guru did not get a fair trial and was framed. There was no direct evidence against him despite that he was executed,” he said. Sehrai said Government of India should hand over the body of Guru to Kashmiri people on “humanitarian grounds.”
“How unfortunate is it that Guru was not allowed to see his wife and lone son one last time. More irony is that his wife and son could not see Guru even after his death,” said Sehrai.
Pertinently, Hurriyat (M) chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq was first among the separatist leaders to advocate “broader alliance and joint strategy among the pro-freedom leaders.”