Syed Ali Shah Geelani

Hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani dominated the news this week with his acts of giving slips to police and sudden appearances in public places.
After being confined to his house for long (after a jail stint), Geelani seems to have developed a new avatar for himself, this time he is playing hide and seek with authorities. At 80, with ailing health, it is a challenge Geelani has superbly met, at least this week, putting his confiners to shame.
Geelani first appeared for a press conference in a Srinagar hotel early this week, in spite of the heavy police deployment both outside his home and the hotel. Geelani had left his home early in the morning to an unspecified destination. His party announced the venue and time for this press conference, just half an hour before the schedule. Though police reached the spot along with journalists, apparently to thwart the press conference, Geelani gave the police a slip by arriving in an autorickshaw which moved unstopped through the unsuspecting police and stopped before the hotel entrance.
Geelani stepped out and proceeded directly to the press conference room.
There he announced a protest programme against illegal land occupation by security forces. Geelani said that a detailed programme would be announced later, but as the first step, he called for a strike in Shopian district for Friday.
Police rounded up five of his companions as Geelani came out of the press conference. He took an autorickshaw back to home alone again.
Police later said that they never stopped Geelani, and that he was a free man. From home, Geelani returned to Lal Chowk to see his detained companions in the police station and seek their release. Geelani was reportedly assured their release by the evening, however, the next day they were sent to central jail.
Geelani made another unusual appearance in the city centre the next day, as he surfaced in the press colony, and visited a few newspaper offices.
Geelani‘s sudden appearance in the newsmen’s hub made reporters and photographers jostle alike.
By midweek Geelani gave another challenge to police by announcing his intention to visit Shopian. On Thursday Geelani was reported missing from his home, and police were at pains to trace him. Police raided many suspect places in Shopian to trace Geelani, but failed. Police was vigilant in Shopian town to avert his arrival, but Geelani made a public appearance in the town flanked by his supporters. He later addressed a large gathering of people and announced a similar program for Baramulla for the next  Friday.
Meanwhile Geelani was denied visa by the United Kingdom, where he was supported to participate in a conference on Kashmir issue. Earlier the united States had also denied visa to him.


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