What could further drive a wedge between moderates and hardliners in Kashmir, five rebel leaders of Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s faction have joined Syed Ali Geelani's group, in a major boost for the hardliners.
The hardliners are upbeat as eight separatist organisations, including from the moderate Hurriyat faction, signed an agreement titled ‘Meesaq-i-Hurriyat’ with Geelani on Thursday.
“Nothing less than complete freedom will be acceptable to us. All the pro-freedom forces have to assemble under a single banner or build brotherly and cordial relationship with each other, which will not let the divide and rule policy of India to succeed,” said hardline Hurriyat spokesman.
The parties that have joined Geelani’s Hurriyat include Peoples Movement (Jammu), Kashmir Freedom Front, Tehreek-e-Mazahamat Jammu Kashmir, Islamic Political Party, Gojer Phari Forum, Muslim Khawateen Markaz, Pairvan-i-Villayat Jammu Kashmir and Hakeem Abdul Rasheed.
The agreement by these groups said the entire leadership outrightly rejects the solutions like soft borders, status quo, four-point formula and internal autonomy.
“We will not take any part in any bilateral or triangular type of dialogue process and will not indulge in any activity which will create doubts and misunderstandings,” said the agreement.
Geelani’s Hurriyat reiterated the call for unification of all separatists for a for a grand alliance.
"Old and new constituents of the forum will remain steadfast and show sincerity and firm determination,” said Geelani on the occasion.
“No conscious person can be against the unity but the unity based on principles and objectives can be long lasting and successful,” he added.
Moderate Hurriyat, however, downplayed the fresh development saying “it is a routine exercise”.
“Rebels never raised issues related to constitution but always about the berths in executive council. Though we do not see any serious issue over some persons joining the faction of Geelani sahib but at the same time we want to make it clear that most of them lead one-man parties and were striving for the membership in the executive council,” said moderate Hurriyat spokesperson Shahid-ul-Islam.
He claimed the Mirwaiz has received applications of other leaders expressing desire to join him. “We are not surprised as being projected that some have deserted us and joined other camp. For us it is nothing new,” said moderate Hurriyat spokesman.