Masarat Alam on Thursday denied waving Pakistani flag at a rally organised to welcome separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in Srinagar, but said it was a representation of the feelings, aspirations and sentiments of the people across Kashmir.

A day after being slapped with Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for anti-national activities, the hardline Hurriyat leader came out with clarification saying he did not wave the Pakistani flag and should not be held responsible for that.

“There was a welcome programme for Geelani. Some youth had (Pakistani) flags there. Why should I be held responsible for it?” Mr. Alam, who was released in April 2015 after being detained under the Public Safety Act for more than four years, said.

“This is a general trend in the State and not one man’s doing. To hold one person responsible for it, I do not think is the right thing,” he said.

Asked about the FIR against him in connection with Wednesday’s rally, he said it was nothing new for him.

On Mr. Geelani’s call for march to Tral on Friday where two youth were killed in an Army operation earlier this week, Mr. Alam said, “We will see who all turn up.”

“It is not only Indian administration (officials) who have a right to live in Jammu and Kashmir. We are sons of the soil and we have a right to live here. This is our land…,” he added.

After a gap of five years, the Jammu and Kashmir government Wednesday allowed Mr. Geelani to hold a public rally on the outskirts of Srinagar where his supporters including Mr. Alam raised pro-Pakistan slogans and others waved Pakistani flags.

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