Syed Ali Geelani

Known for going against the tide, the inflexible SyedAli Geelani had a prolonged meeting with Father P Samuel, the head ofChurch of North India, at the latter’s MalviyaNagar residence.

Apart from offering him a copy of the Quran, the octogenarian discussed the status of Christian minorities in Kashmir. Geelani wants the Church leader to be sensitive towards the state of human rights in Kashmir. The meeting is significant in wake of a massive campaign by the Muslim clergy against a select group of Church leaders who are accused of using money to convert Kashmiri Muslims to Christianity. Police have registered a case against a pastor and many others, since stayed by the High Court.

Geelani went against the ‘decision’ of the so called Sharia Court at the peak of the controversy “Banishing someone is no solution. As Muslims it is our responsibility to create awareness about Islam,”Geelani said. “No Kashmiri can ignore the contribution of missionary schools like Burn Hall, Biscoe and Convent in the education system of the Valley.” This triggered a lot of heat and dust in Kashmir but

Geelani remained unmoved. He also said that some Indians were “kind hearted”.

The elder leader camping in Delhi since December does not rest. Every day he goes for a walk and meets people. He has been holding open and closed-door meetings with various key characters of Indian mainstream politics, members of the civil society, think-tank constituents and makes attempts to meet diplomats. Recently he met a student delegation from Jamia Millia Islamia University.

Last month, Geelani agreed to attend a debate at the residence of former law minister Ram Jethmalani’s residence. A right-winger,Jethmalani has revived the Kashmir Committee and had visited Kashmir last summer. The lawyer-politician will also review cases of Public Safety Act to see if they can be challenged in the apex court. Geelani’s decision to share table with Jethmalani led to public dissociation of Muslim League with the “hawkish” Hurriyat that Geelani is leading.

Geelani’s latest from Delhi is his statement that Kashmir is neither an integral part of India nor of Pakistan. The pro-Pakistan leader’s statement could help him being heard by people in the policy-making coterie in Delhi. He has made it clear again that he is personally not against any negotiations but will not enter the process unless his basic five points were not acceded to.

At the same time, however, Geelani has suggested PaK authorities to establish a resistance memorial on the other side of the LoC because it was impossible to have such a structure on Indian side.

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