SRINAGAR – All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC-G) chairman Ali Shah Geelani received a visitor from a key partner-party in the National Democratic Alliance, an Indian newspaper reported on Sunday.
The Hindu newspaper identified one of the two visitors as Sanjay Saraf, a Kashmiri Pandit activist who represents Lok Janshakti Party in Jammu Kashmir and heads its national youth wing. The second visitor was ML Mattoo, a former legislator from Srinagar’s Habbakadal, who is also active in politics.
Geelani had said that the envoys were both Kashmir Pandits, but declined to identify them. Saraf admitted that he had met with Geelani in Srinagar four weeks ago, but said the visit was prompted by concern over the ageing leader’s ill-health.
“Though my Lok Janshakti Party is now part of the National Democratic Alliance, but I have never carried any messages on behalf of the BJP, and would never do so,” he said. “I have met Mr Geelani not once but dozens of times,” he added. “I intend to ask Mr Geelani to name the people he met, and to clear my name,” he said.
Saraf has long been associated with Geelani, sharing a platform with him at multiple meetings where the Hurriyat leader has reached out to the pandit community. Last year, Saraf also campaigned for the release of Mushtaq Ahmad Bhat — an ally of Geelani, who is in prison for his alleged role in the violent street mobilisation which rocked Kashmir in 2010.