Now Geelani opposes stone pelting, says it achieved nothing
Srinagar, April 30 (IANS) Hardline senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani has appealed to the youth not to pelt stones at security forces in Kashmir as the octogenarian leader realized "the failure of stone pelting to achieve any results".
Addressing a gathering in north Kashmir Bandipora town Friday, Geelani said: "Religious debate about the relevance of stone pelting notwithstanding, we have realized stone pelting yielded no contribution to the freedom struggle last year.
"Instead, we lost 118 youth in last year's unrest."
Geelani said since no contribution was made towards the cause of freedom through stone pelting, youth should not hurl stones at the security forces or security bunkers here.
He also condemned the death of a local driver in a hospital here Thursday after being injured in a stone pelting incident in north Kashmir Baramulla town.
The driver was caught unawares when youth were pelting stones at security forces in Baramulla town.
Police here confirmed he had been injured because of the stone pelters.
Baramulla has been a hotbed of separatist sentiment in north Kashmir.
The youth of the town, especially those living in the old town there, have earned an unenviable reputation for indulging in stone pelting on flimsy grounds.
Police and other security forces have been trying to address the alienation of the town's youth by organizing sports events, interactive sessions, debates, tours etc.
The state government, headed by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, has asked the centre to depute an additional 70 companies of paramilitary forces comprising 7,000 men to the state.
The step is seen as part of the state government's concern to ensure peaceful holding of this year's Amarnath Yatra and also address apprehensions that stone pelting might erupt again this summer.
Kashmir has not seen a peaceful summer since 2008.
There was the Amarnath shrine land row agitation in 2008, Shopian alleged double murder and rape agitation in 2009 and the bloody summer unrest in 2010 in which 110 youth died in clashes between unruly mobs and the security forces.