War of words erupts between Geelani and ex-J

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Srinagar, Dec 7 (UNI) A war of words has erupted between former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Mohammad Shah and breakaway Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani over passing of an autonomy resolution in the state Assembly in 1977.

Mr Geelani had said that he along with late Abdul Ghani Lone tried to get a resolution passed in the Assembly for restoration of pre-53 status to Jammu and Kashmir, but the then state government, headed by late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, opposed the move.

Seeking to put the records straight, Mr Shah, who is also the Awami National Conference (ANC) president, said it was late Lone and Mr Geelani himself who had developed ''cold feet'' on that particular day in 1977.

Recalling the day in 1977, Mr Shah said he was standing near the gates of the Legislature Complex when late Lone and Mr Geelani approached him with a suggestion that late Sheikh, as the then Chief Minister, should pass a resolution in the state Assembly, granting pre-1953 status to Jammu and Kashmir as the National Conference (NC) enjoyed two-thirds majority in the Lower House.

Mr Shah further said he requested late Lone and Mr Geelani to stay there and rushed to late Sheikh with their suggestion. ''Late Sheikh agreed to the suggestion, but said New Delhi will react by dissolving the state Assembly and asked if late Lone and Mr Geelani were ready to lose their seats in the Lower House,'' he added.

Mr Shah said he forwarded the message to late Lone and Mr Geelani who replied that the ''time was not ripe for such a resolution.'' The former Chief Minister said he was compelled to react to the statement of Mr Geelani.

However, the breakaway Hurriyat chairman retorted, saying late Lone presented a bill for restoration of autonomy (pre-1953 status) to Jammu and Kashmir in the state Assembly in 1977, but the NC leaders did not support the move.

''For setting the records straight, Mr Shah should check the state Assembly records,'' Mr Geelani said.


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