Geelani does a flip-flop, will attend conclave in Delhi

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Syed Ali Shah Geelani
Srinagar, Mar 14: In a flip-flop, hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani today said he will take part in the India Today conclave, just days after he had backed out saying he cannot share the dais with National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon as he represents the Centre.

"After broad based consultation, Geelani has decided to attend the India Today Conclave to be held on Mar 18 and 19" in Delhi, a Hurriyat spokesman said in a statement, adding the separatist leader has been "advised to sit among the audience to avoid any contact with the representatives of the central government".

The spokesman said Geelani consulted all the constituents of his amalgam and civil society.

"There was a consensus that no dialogue is going to take place over there. So this historic moment to tell the people of India and the world community about the grave situation that exists in Kashmir and the importance of resolving the Kashmir issue should not be lost," the spokesman said.

Though Geelani had initially accepted the invitation but early this month he had written to noted journalist M J Akbar, Editorial Director of India Today, expressing his inability to attend the conclave, objecting to the presence of the National Security Advisor, who will chair the session on Kashmir.

The hardline leader will now take part in the breakfast session of the conclave on March 19 in New Delhi where he and BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi will speak on the topic - ''Kashmir what Next?'' The spokesman said Geelani will leave for New Delhi on Mar 18.

PTI

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