Land row brings separatist camp closer, again

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Srinagar: The government proposal to allot land to non-state subjects has yet again brought the separatist camp closer  while  the first joint-statement from two powerful voices – Syed Ali Geelani and Muhammad Yasin Malik –has already come out –pledging  to “fight the nefarious designs tooth and nail.”
On May 18, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, Chairman, Muhammad Yasin walked the extra mile only to call on Hurriyat G Chairman Syed Ali Geelani at latter’s  Hyder Pora residence in bid to formulate a joint strategy.
The meeting discussed the establishment of proposed Sainik colonies, separate townships for migrant Kashmiri Pandits, New Industrial Policy, construction of shelters for non-locals, NEET extension and the ‘miserable condition’ of Jammu Muslims.
The results were instant. The 2-hour meeting, which was also attended by other leaders including Nayeem Ahmed Khan, Advocate Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Muhammad Abdullah Tari, Ghulam Nabi Sumji, Showkat Ahmad Bakshi, Altaf Ahmad Shah, Noor Muhammad Kalwal, Muhammad Yaseen Bhat and Ayaz Akbar, ended on consensus.
Terming the prevalent conditions, a “do or die situation”, the Hurriyat G said: “It was decided in the meeting that the pro-freedom organizations will jointly resist the implementation of RSS agendas and an effective and disciplined course of action will be formulated in this regard.”
“They (Geelani and Malik) appealed the nation to be mentally prepared to counter the agendas of RSS and Sangh Parivar and reaffirm their resolve that the Indian rulers have to go through our dead bodies to implement their vicious policies,” the spokesman said adding the “historic meeting” was held in a pleasant atmosphere.
The JKLF, on the other hand, equally endorsed the development. A JKLF spokesman said: “On all the issues, discussed in the meeting, there was a complete unanimity of thoughts and ideas shared by both sides.”
The development came barely two days after Kashmir’s head priest, Mirwaiz, Dr Umar Farooq, who runs the parallel faction of the Hurriyat, sought unity in the separatist camps over land row and related issues. Mirwaiz, has already given a Eidgah Chalo call where the leaders are expected to share platform.
On Thursday afternoon, Malik met Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief Syeda Asiya Andrabi while the two groups agreed on a united stand over the land row.
It is for the second time in the past around a decade that the separatists have pledged for a joint strategy, after their brief stint of unity in 2008, when the Valley emerged in a major rebellion against allotment of 800 kanals of forestland to Shri Amnarnath Shrine Board.  On June 19, 2008, the Hurriyat factions issued a joint declaration in Srinagar seeking revocation of forestland transfer orders.
Formed on March 9, 1993, as a “united political front for right to self-determination of Kashmiris”, the Hurriyat remained a united a house for around a decade.
Internal cracks, however, culminated in its formal split on September 7, 2003. While moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Dr Omar Farooq raised Hurriyat (M), hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani formed Hurriyat (G). In 2014, Shabir Shah and Nayeem Khan constituted Hurriyat (JK). While Malik, continued to head JKLF, the Hurriyat( JK) in 2015 merged with the Geelani’s camp.
Last year, on April 18, Hurriyat leaders –Geelani, Mirwaiz and Malik shared the stage at a rally in Srinagar to show solidarity with the family of a teenager killed in police firing. Two months later, on July 11, Geelani hosted an Iftar party at his residence in which the estranged leaders, including Mirwaiz, broke their fast together.
But thereafter, the parallel factions never met till the land row erupted over multiple proposals to allot land to non-state subjects.
The unity efforts are being welcomed in Kashmir. “See unity is the need of the hour. We too had sought the same lest things go out of hands in a chaotic way. There needs to be a one-voice leadership, at least for such sensitive situations, which truly mean do or die to us,” Chairman Kashmir Economic Alliance, Muhammad Yasin Khan told Kashmir Observer.
Kashmir Centre for Social and Development Studies, a civil society group has equally welcomed the unity move.

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