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BJP's student wing activists try to disrupt seminar on Kashmir issue at JNU

February 13, 2015

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— Photo courtesy: ABVP.org
— Photo courtesy: ABVP.org

NEW DELHI: Activists of the Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), which is the student wing of the ruling rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), have allegedly manhandled S.A.R. Geelani on Wednesday and tried to disrupt a seminar on the Kashmir dispute being held at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) in New Delhi on Friday, The Hindu website reported.

S.A.R. Geelani is a Kashmiri teacher who was named in the attack on the Indian parliament along with Afzal Guru. Geelani was later acquitted for want of evidence while Guru was convicted and secretly executed in a faraway jail in New Delhi in Feb 2013.

He remained unhurt in the incident.

Though police were called in to control the situation, no case has been registered over the incident, the report added.

Organisers of the seminar titled 'The undying spirit of Kashmir: The question of self-determination.' were quoted in the report as saying that ABVP activists hurled 'stones at Professor Geelani’s car and tried to stop him from reaching the talk venue'.

The ABVP, on the other hand, denied the allegations saying 'its members protested peacefully because the talk was illegal'.

“Some people from the ABVP surrounded my car and started throwing stones. They also tried to manhandle me, but the students formed a human chain and I entered the talk venue,” Mr. Geelani told The Hindu.

The talk was being organised by Delhi-based Democratic Students Union (DSU) in connection with the death anniversaries of Kashmiri leaders Muhammad Maqbool Butt and Muhammad Afzal Guru.

Muhammad Maqbool Butt was hanged in New Delhi's Tihar Jail on February 11, 1984 while Muhammad Afzal Guru was sent to gallows in the same jail on February 9, 2013.

Bodies of the two leaders were buried in the jail premises.

Nearly 500 students, who attended the event, later took out a procession and chanted slogans in favour of Kashmir's freedom.

The event organisers said that they had got permission from the university authorities to hold the seminar.

The permission was, however, withdrawn at the eleventh hour, they said. “They told us that the event wouldn't be allowed because one of the speakers is S.A.R. Gilani and that it is an anti-India meeting.

But we made it sure that come what may, we will hold the meeting,” Omar Khalid, a DSU member and one of the event organisers, told media men.

During his address, Geelani said, “Killings of Kashmiris by Indian forces have made us fearless of death. These killings always give new momentum to our freedom struggle. It did so when Maqbool Butt was hanged; it is doing now as well.”

Azadi (freedom) is our destiny, which we will achieve one day,” said S.A.R. Gilani, who is also President of the Committee for Release of Political Prisoners.

He said that India claimed to be the largest democracy of the world but Kashmiris had no space in India's democratic setup.

He said that it was imperative for India to resolve the Kashmir dispute at the earliest if it wanted peace in South Asia.

Arif Ayaz Parray, a Delhi-based Kashmiri writer, and Uzma Falak, a writer and poet, also spoke on the occasion.