Hurriyat factions get together to protest land allotment

June 18th, 2008 - 1:48 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Ali G

Srinagar, June 18 (IANS) After nearly five years, the two estranged factions of the separatist Hurriyat Conference in Jammu and Kashmir will chalk out a common `resistance programme’ against a controversial allotment of forest land to Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) by the state government. Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, the chairman of the moderate Hurriyat group, would call on Syed Ali Geelani, the hardline separatist leader and chairman of the breakaway Hurriyat group, Thursday to chalk out a common ‘resistance programme’ against the allotment of forest land to SASB.

Thursday’s meeting between the two separatist leaders is scheduled to take place at the uptown Hyderpora residence of Geelani in the state’s summer capital Srinagar.

The Hurriyat Conference was split Sept 15, 2003 when Geelani walked out with his supporters to form his own Hurriyat after blaming Mirwaiz and others of “working against the freedom movement”.

Both the Hurriyat groups had earlier announced their separate resistance programmes against the allotment of 40 hectares of forest land in north Kashmir’s Baltal area to SASB.

“Both the leaders will give final touches to the common resistance programme against land allotment to SASB,” a Hurriyat source told IANS here.

A source in Geelani’s group said: “The Mirwaiz had expressed a wish to meet Geelani. We discussed the issue threadbare and reached the conclusion that we are not against such a meeting in principle.”

Interestingly, since the two estranged separatist leaders are meeting here after a long time, Mirwaiz is also expected to discuss his group’s forthcoming Pakistan visit with Geelani, sources in the Mirwaiz group indicated.

Mirwaiz Umer Farooq confirmed to the media here Wednesday that he would discuss “so many issues with Geelani Sahib”.

Although Geelani has not so far agreed to re-join the Mirwaiz Hurriyat, Thursday’s meeting would be crucial as it provides the two estranged leaders a common ground to work together and announce a joint programme.

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