Soft-spoken Singh, tough Modi only difference between Cong and BJP: Geelani

Srinagar: Terming BJP and Congress as “two sides of the same coin,” Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani on Monday said there was nothing to fear about the Modi-led government as its policy was the same as the preceding regime.
“The only difference between the two governments is the way of talking. While Manmohan Singh was soft-spoken, Narendra Modi talks tough,” Geelani told a seminar on custodial disappearances organised by his Hurriyat at his Hyderpora residence here.
“There is nothing to fear about the BJP government as there is not an iota of difference in the policies of the two (BJP and Congress) parties,” he said.
Expressing satisfaction over “80 percent boycott of Parliamentary elections” in Jammu and Kashmir, Geelani appealed for a complete boycott of the upcoming Assembly elections in the state.
All pro-India parties including the National Conference, PDP or the People’s Conference are the same, he said.
Geelani said PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Saeed’s slogan of change and talk of Kashmir resolution was an attempt to gather votes and hoodwink the people.
“Mufti accepts the sovereignty of India and for him the solution to Kashmir issue lies in some minor administrative changes and people accepting the status quo and giving up their struggle against the Indian occupation,” Geelani said.
“Had Mufti been a well-wisher of Kashmiri people he would have stepped down when a woman and her daughter were raped in Badar-Payeen (Handwara). Instead, flanked by the then Home Minister of India, he told a press conference that only the woman had been raped,” Geelani said.
Geelani also flayed People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone for participating in elections.
“He (Lone) cannot be looked at differently. His father Abdul Gani Lone used to wholeheartedly work for the campaign of boycott of elections,” he said.
Speaking during the seminar, senior Hurriyat (G) leader, Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai said the people of Kashmir should express solidarity with people whose kin have disappeared during last 23 years of conflict.
Senior journalist Zahir-ud-Din said that Kashmir did not witness the cases of disappearance during last twenty years only but it had been going on before that as well.
“Kashmiris have always been offering sacrifices against different rules. Only a fool can forget the sacrifices of the people which they offered in 1864, 1931, 1947 or during last twenty years. We will never forget or let anyone forget them,” Zahir said.
Giving presentation on the issue of disappearances in Kashmir, an Association of Parents of Disappeared Persons (APDP) member, Naqshab Afra said there are more than 8000 such cases, 10,000 nameless graves, and more than one lakh torture victims in the state.
“This was done by the state under particular policy, and these are not simply human rights abuses, but war crimes,” said Naqshab.
Prominent human rights activist Khurram Parvez, on the occasion said, “The people of Kashmir including political and religious organizations should take responsibility to take the freedom movement of Kashmir forward.”
“Those who propagate with ignorance or as an agent of India that our freedom movement can’t be successful, because there are flaws in it and they should come forward themselves and correct these flaws,” said Khurram.
Senior Jama’at-e-Islami member Advocate Zahid Ali on the occasion said the people of Kashmir “should make Islamic principles as its base to take their freedom movement forward in an organized manner.”
“If we will not launch it in organized manner, one draconian rule will be replaced by another as we have seen in the past,” said Zahid.
Mushtaq Ahmed Veeri, a representative of Jamiat-Ahlihadith, also pitched for taking the “freedom movement forward as per teachings of Islam.”