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Geelani detained again

Indian occupied Kashmir's most senior leader, Syed Ali Geelani, was put under house arrest again on Saturday - just two weeks after the end of a previous eight-month detention. A police truck and a contingent of policemen was placed outside the 83-year-old leader's home and he was told to remain inside. "We condemn this illegal confinement. The government was unnerved by the passionate reception I received over the last few days," Geelani told AFP from his house in occupied Srinagar.

He had announced plans to address public rallies across Indian occupied Kashmir to campaign for the right to self-determination and ask people to "boycott" state elections due next year. There was no immediate comment from Indian authorities who often confine Kashmiri leaders to their homes when they are worried about them leading protest rallies. "This illegal confinement is highly condemnable. The government wants to choke us and muzzle the voice of freedom," Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told AFP.

"We won't give our vote to our enemies who suppress us," Geelani said in a recent speech to thousands of people, mostly men waving religious flags, who gave him a rapturous welcome in Kupwara town north-west of Srinagar. "We're not afraid of house arrests," Geelani said. Geelani was released from house arrest on October 29 after 263 days following pressure from critics who said he had been detained long enough. Immediately after he was freed, Geelani hit the road, energetically addressing crowds of defiant youth. He had last been arrested in March by Indian authorities over fears of unrest following the hanging of Afzal Guru.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2013


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