Srinagar, October 11 (JKNT) Jammu and Kashmir’s education minister Naeem Akhtar who was threatened with dire consequences if he attempted to open the schools to sabotage the ongoing “ tehreek” ( movement) in Kashmir by militant groups and separatists has pleaded with senior separatist leader and die-hard Pakistan protagonist Syed Ali Shah Geelani to allow the children to return to schools.
Akhtar has made this plea to the separatist leader in an open letter in the opinion columns of a leading English daily , Greater Kashmir, in a clear response to the threats held out to him by Lashkar-e-Toiba and Geelani himself for seeking to open the schools at a time when the peoples’ movement was marching toward its goal.
The Education Minister , who was the closest confidant of late Chief Minister Mufti Mohmmad Sayeed and retains his ministerial position in the Mehbooba Mufti government , has taken exception to him being called as a traitor to the cause , invoked some incidents hailing Geelani as a great advocate of education as also a religious scholar .
Akhtar who was dismissed from service in 1990 on charges of sedition, later, however , restored following a 73-day employees’ strike and political pressure, is known to be sympathetic to the separatist camp but enjoys a high caliber knowledge and command over various language . Most of the time he had been critical of Delhi in his writings .
Referring to threats to his life, he reminded Geelani that it is inevitable, but he has sincere wish the children of Kashmir should perform better than his own children who are well settled in their lives. Naeem also drew attention of Geelani on both of them being “ peer”, those who impart Islamic education and lead prayers at mosques.
This is for the first time that the Education Minister has pleaded with top separatist leader in this manner against the backdrop of an ongoing agitation in which nearly 90 lives have been lost over the past three months.