In an attempt to break ice with separatist hawk Sayeed Ali Shah Geelani (85), Mirwaiz Umar Farooq (40) on Wednesday went to the Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) hospital in Srinagar to enquire about the health of the ailing separatist.
The human rights issue and the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) provide common ground to the two warring leaders to join hands and unite.
The two leaders met two months after Geelani rejected a unification move made by the Mirwaiz. In April, while rejecting unification, Geelani told a two-member committee instituted by the Mirwaiz: “We don’t want any confrontation, but we would follow our own protest programme and you should follow your own.”
Geelani and Mirwaiz, both representing respective factions of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), fell apart on engaging New Delhi in a dialogue process.
While the moderates are ready to hold a triangular dialogue - first with New Delhi and then with Islamabad - the hardline APHC opposes direct dialogue with New Delhi and is proponent of a trilateral dialogue with the New Delhi, Islamabad and Kashmiri leaderships simultaneously to address the Kashmir problem.
The division within the APHC, sources said, is the prime reason that the dates to visit to Pakistan could not be finalized by the separatists groups in Kashmir. Pakistan, who has invited the separatists groups to visit to Islamabad last year, is pushing both the factions to unite.
Of late, the human rights issue has become a common ground for both the factions of the APHC to join hands. Mirwaiz’s aide Nayeem Ahmad Khan told the Hindustan Times that if the two APHCs cannot unite then “there should be coordination as they both fight for a common cause.”
The APHC, led by Mirwaiz, held a special session of executive council of the conglomerate on Wednesday and came down heavily on the government over “human rights abuses” in the state.
“We ask international bodies working on human rights issues to look into how new generation of Kashmiris is being annihilated in a systemic manner,” said an APHC spokesman in a statement.
In the meeting, the APHC accused New Delhi of having double standards of justice and law system. It has demanded that killings in Kashmir should be tried under war crimes to restore sense of security in Jammu and Kashmir.
The human rights issue seems to push the warring factions of the APHC to join hands. On Wednesday, Geelani too decried “deterioration human rights situation, AFSPA and army’s negative role in the conflict”.
Both issues were also taken up for discussion in the meeting held by the Mirwaiz’s APHC earlier in the day.
“The Indian army has developed a personal vested interest in staying on in Kashmir. Kashmir has become an open market for army officers who earn money here, loot forests and win swift promotions impossible outside the valley,” said Geelani. He alleged the Armed Forces Special Powers Act has given the army licence to kill.