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Geelani barred from offering Friday prayers

A week after being allowed to attend his first Friday prayers in five years, state government once again barred Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani from visiting a mosque at Lal Chowk to offer congregational prayers.

When the ailing leader tried to leave his residence, a large contingent of the government forces stationed outside his Rehmatabad residence stopped him.

A statement issued by the Hurriyat (G) spokesman lashed out at the authorities for the curbs. “Government is relying on false propaganda and now its tall claims stand exposed,” the statement read adding the government had sealed all roads leading to Geelani’s Hyderpora residence with concertina wires and barricades.

Geelani, however, addressed the Friday gathering at Masjid-e-Hamzah over phone. “By placing curbs and detaining resistance leaders, the government is denying us the freedom to stage peaceful protests. It amounts to interference in religious affairs,” Geelani said.

He said that more than twenty people were brutally killed and hundreds maimed in pellet firing. “How long will Kashmiri people, especially youth be killed by the force personnel,” he questioned. “World community should take  cognizance of the unending killings in state.”

Geelani said Kashmiris will continue their struggle “till freedom is achieved”. He said the sacrifices of youth won’t go waste and nobody will be allowed to play with these sacrifices.

“We will never surrender or succumb to pressure but will pursue our cherished mission till it is taken to its logical conclusion,” he said.

The Hurriyat leader appealed to international community to take cognizance of the “brutal” killings and come forward to resolve the Kashmir dispute.

“We, with a sincere heart, want to convey that we are yearning for peace and seek peaceful resolution to the long- pending Kashmir issue,” he said. “India needs to fulfill its promise of giving Kashmiris their right to self-determination to choose their future,” he said.

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