In a significant development, three senior separatists on Wednesday joined the hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference headed by separatist Syed Ali Geelani.
Freedom party chief Shabir Ahmad Shah, National Front chairman Nayeem Ahmad Khan and Anjuman-e-Shar-e-Shian president Agha Syed Hassan reached the Hyderpora residence of Geelani early on Wednesday to join the amalgam.
The decision was announced at a press conference jointly addressed by Hurriyat patriarch Syed Ali Geelani, apart from the trio.
Calling the move an "ideological unity, Nayeem Khan said the process of joining hands by separatists was a reaction to the BJP and RSS in Kashmir."
"Muslim identity of J&K is under threat and who else than Geelani can lead to face such a huge challenge," Khan said. In August 2014, Geelani had asked the separatist groups to come together in response to BJP assuming power.
Shabir Shah, Nayeem Khan and Aga Hassan were part of Hurriyat-led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq till recent past. Shah and Khan later formed their own amalgam called Hurriyat JK. Aga Hassan was expelled by Mirwaiz, accusing him of maligning the group. However, Aga had insisted that he left the Mirwaiz faction as "the group had deviated from APHC's 1993 constitution."
Welcoming the group in his faction, Geelani said his party's doors are open for all those who are sincere "about the cause of the separatists.''
Geelani also criticised the PDP-BJP government for detaining Hurriyat leaders. Geelani said that current government was not providing any political space to the separatist leadership. "It will have serious consequences," he warned.