Hyderabad: Jammu and Kashmir may be calm since last year after three summers of unrest, but separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani insists that the peace is fake. He says the state's problem is not of development but of official terrorism and cultural aggression.

“The peace is fake. They have named the silence created at gun point as peace. As far as the ground situation is concerned, there is simmering lava against state terrorism and excesses by the government, army and police,” said Geelani, chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (G).

Geelani was here to attend the first conference of Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF). “Nobody is being permitted to come on the streets, nobody is being allowed to carry organisational activities, especially those parties which are demanding right to self- determination,” said the 82-year-old.

“There is also cultural aggression. Our religion and culture are being distorted and in its place 'mushrikana tehzeeb' (un-Islamic culture) is being imposed in the name of Sufism and Kasmiriyat.”

Geelani said the real problem of people was not of roads, flyovers and development works. “If a nation is made slave and it is in the army's stranglehold, even roads made of gold can't solve their problems.”

Kashmir has also seen enthusiastic participation in polls, even at the grassroots. But Geelani said it did not mean people were moving away from the 'freedom movement'. “Which problem will be solved by our participation in elections. Do you think under the shadow of 7.5 lakh armymen, elections will be free and fair?” he asked.

“We participated in elections. I myself was in assembly for 15 years till 1987. After that we boycotted because there was huge rigging. Those winning the elections were taken to jails and those losing were taken to the assembly.  People are with freedom movement but they are coming out to cast their vote to address their local day-to-day problems.”

Geelani pointed out that since 2008 he has continuously been under house arrest. “My residence has been turned into a prison. They don't allow me to come out on Fridays or on Eid. Their people create a situation to give an impression that wherever Geelani goes, trouble breaks out and this is used as an excuse to keep me under house arrest.”

(Agencies)