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Hardliner Geelani refuses to join moderate's peaceful protests

By Mukhtar Ahmad
Last updated on: April 28, 2010 15:08 IST

The efforts to forge unity among the various Kashmiri separatist groups received a jolt after hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani rejected the unity move of the moderate All Parties Hurriyat Conference on Wednesday.

The moderate APHC had initiated the unity move on Tuesday after nominating two of its members, Mohammad Abdullah Tari and Syed Agha Hassan, to deliberate separately with other separatist groups to work out unity for a common protest programme –demanding demilitarisation of Kashmir, withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act and highlighting the human rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir.

The decision was taken at an executive committee meeting of the moderate group chaired by its chairman Mirwaiz Moulvi Umar Farooq.

However, when the two members of the moderate APHC group met Geelani on Wednesday morning, he categorically rejected the offer.

He, however, made it clear that he was not for confrontation, but will be following a separate protest programme.

"I am not for confrontation. We have our own programme and they should follow their own," he said while addressing a media conference at his residence on Wednesday.

The two groups had given a semblance of unity during the 2008 land row agitation in Kashmir against allotment of forestland to the Amarnath shrine board.

Geelani announced he would lead a protest march on Friday from a local mosque in Srinagar to the United Nations Military Observers Group headquarters in uptown Sonwar after the Friday prayers.

He also announced that they would hold peaceful protests throughout the Valley after the Friday prayers every week throughout the month of May.
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar