‘Geelani goes into hiding’ was the main headline that dominated the front pages of vernacular press Kashmirees had to put their gaze on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitar, 31 August 2011. Pains-inflicting and stunning the people in Kashmir received the news. Afterall why should an octagenarian leader, who is the victim of dozens of diseases including chronic chest ailment and with only one-fourth of its lone kidney functioning, take such a troublesome decision and leave his home in the thick of night? Answer, for Eid-namaz in his native town Sopore. The authorities, as the reports say, had already put the prominent Hurayat leader under house arrest, with a contigent of police keeping a vigil on his movement. But after Aisha prayers pro-resistance leader gave a slip to the security personnel and headed trowards Sopore. On Wednesday morning, people in Sopore and adjacent areas drove to Sopore Eidgah to have a glimpse of their beloved leader and hear him on Eid-prayer.
As the leader known for his undiluted and unwavering stand on Kashmir dispute emerged at the main-gate of largely attended spacious Eidgah ground in his car, the people, especially the youth became ecstatic. They greeted him with slogans of Aazadi and Islam and ‘Sher Aaya, Sher Aaya’ chantings. From main gate to the pulpit (dias) Geelani was carried on the shoulders. Barely a few minutes after Geelani stood up to adress the public gathering, the public adress system developed a ‘technical fault’ (as the local Auqaf people termed it). Beyond a few close-in rows his voice was inaudible. The adrenalin started jumping up in the "warm-blooded" youth against the Auqaf as they smelled something mischievous and foul-playing. But Geelani calmed them down and asked people to assemble at Sopore main-chowk after Eid-prayer where he would deliver a public speech. You cannot believe, youth literally ran after his car to reach as fast as they can to the Chowk, and, in the meantime, touching the vehicle of Geelani in love and devotion. Up on the second storey balcony of the New Light Hotel Geelani adressed people who heard him in dignified silence and highest regard.
Geelani Sahab in his adress, in addition to asking people to remain firm in their resolve for the right to self-determination and not to forget the sacrifices of the martyers, delivered a strong moral message. He stressed people to desist from chanting Sher Aaya…. and other provocative slogans. He apprised people of the dangerous implications of the hero-worship. In historical perspective he reflected on how unaccountable ‘towering personalities’ and "Shaires" (lions) of Kashmir imposed their personality cult on gullible people and led them astray and commmitted treason. Place other kashmiri "leaders" in his place, they would have been carried away by such sloganering. But here is a "simple man" not getting drooled by such praises. In him are not ‘animal instincts to devour’ he told people. ‘He is a feeble old man and who lives for the cause’. ‘To seek independence for the people of Jammu and Kashmir’.
Geelani urged youth to desist from stone-pelting and other violent means. And took pledge from them to strictly remain disciplined and follow peaceful means in pursuit of the goal of RSD. That what he says he means it was demonestrated in practice. As some children became emotional and started throwing stones on adjacent CRPF bunker, Geelani strongly admonished them and condemned their action then and there. Humbled in humility the children followed suit. Earlier in Eid-gah it was Geelani who made a cooling effect on the surcharged atmosphere, otherwise people were too furious at defective and inadequate arrangements of the local Auqaf.
One wonders why the government and the administration is bent on curbing the movement of a leader who approaches a problem through peaceful and non-violent means. It is nearly for the past one year that Geelani has been restricted from attending Juma prayers, not to speak of "enjoying" political freedom.
That Geelani was forced to go in hiding on the eve of auspicious Eid-day reveals the black hole of what is hailed as ‘largest democracy of world’. The double-standard is abnoxiously visible. The Abdullah dynasty, Mufti-family, Congressmen and other pro-Indian groups are facilitated with security escorts to attend religious ceremonies.
‘Moderates’ from pro-movement camp too are given the liberty. But restrictions are put on those who don’t fall in line. And who Delhi dubs as ‘extremists’. The attitude from Delhi, the events unfold, is giving much political leverage to such ‘extremists’. Indirectly it is Delhi which is helping to "extremism" and driving people to get emotionally attached to such ‘extremist’ leadership. Strange are the ways of Almighty Allah!