‘Modi contacts Geelani on Kashmir’

*Hurriyat leader says BJP leader sent emissaries in March *Kashmiri leader asks people to stay away from ballot boxes

SRINAGAR – All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC-G) Chairman Ali Shah Geelani has said that the Bharatiya Janata Party sent emissaries of prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in March this year to seek his commitment on the Kashmir issue, an Indian newspaper reported on Friday.

“Modi sent his people to various (Hurriyat) leaders. Two people came to meet me on March 22 and asked me to talk to him to get his commitment on Kashmir issue,” the Hindustan Times newspaper quoted Geelani as saying. “I rejected their proposal telling them that Modi is an RSS man and we know his party’s policy on Kashmir."

Geelani's disclosure will definitely raise a few eyebrows as the BJP has been maintaining a policy of distance from Kashmiri leaders. “Those who said Modi’s policy would be soft as prime minister have actually met his emissaries,” he said without naming Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Jamaat-e-Islami chief Muhammad Abdullah Wani.

Reiterating his stand of a complete poll boycott, the ageing leader asked people to stay away from the ballot boxes. “India exploits the voting in its favour by claiming that people of Kashmir are with her,” he said. “Boycotting elections is too a right,” he said, pointing out that security agencies are coercing people to vote.

Geelani also issued a protest calendar against the upcoming Indian polls, which include late evening protests on the eve of polls and day-long ‘civil curfew’ on polling day in the upcoming three phases, where the Anantnag, Srinagar and Baramulla will go for polls on April 24, 30 and May 7 respectively.

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