Do not attack pilgrims, we are not against Amarnath yatra, Geelani

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Srinagar, Jun 26 (UNI) Appealing people not to do any harm to any pilgrim, Chairman of the breakaway Hurriyat Conference (HC) Syed Ali Shah Geelani has said people of Jammu and Kashmir were not against Amarnath pilgrimage.

In a statement from his residence where he is under house arrest for the past three days, Mr Geelani justified the peaceful protests against the transfer of 800 kanals of forest land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) by the government.

However, he appealed to the people to carry on their struggle in a peaceful way. We should not allow our enemies to give it a communal colour, he said, adding that we are not against Hindu religion or Amarnath pilgrimage.

But, he said, at the same time we will not allow India to grab our land and strengthen its occupation.

Mr Geelani said the people of the Jammu and Kashmir will continue their protests till the last soldier of the Indian Army leave the state.

He said people of the Kashmir valley were infact helping the yatris and treating them as guests.

Mr Geelani said ''no yatri should be attacked or harmed as they are our guests''.

He, however, added that the period of the yatra, which was just 15 days in the past, was extended to two months under a deep rooted conspiracy.

Mr Geelani said the affairs of the pilgrimage were being managed by the Kashmiri pandits for centuries and they never felt the need of transfering the land for the yatra purpose.

The land transfer was a part of a hidden agenda of the former Governor Lt General (retd) S K Sinha to change the demography of the state, which always was a Muslim majority.

However, he said, to fight against the hidden agenda, ''we will have to remain vigilant as enemy was trying to create confusion.'' About his frequent house arrests, he said, it reflects the frustration of the government, adding, they (government) must know people still can protest. He said the government does not want leaders to join the processionists.

He, however, said, the government was responsible for the violence in the valley.

He said as per the programe, he will lead a procession from Khankha-e-Moula after Friday prayers tomorrow in protest against land transfer and police action on peaceful processionists that left three dead and hundreds wounded.

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