Constituents Suggest Neutral Chairman For Hurriyat
20 November 2003
The Times of India
Srinagar: Separatist groups today proposed that both Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Molvi Mohommad Abbaas Ansari should step down as chairmen of two rival factions of Hurriet and a neutral person should be made a fresh chairman in a bid to forge unity among the Hurriyatt Conference constituents. The proposal was made in a meeting held at Mirwaiz Manzil here to forge unity among all the separatist groups to launch a joint fight for the goal. Presided over by the founder Hurriet chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, nearly 22 out of 27 groups send their representatives to participate in the meeting. Those who did not attend the meeting today include Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Jamiat-e-Islami, JKLF and Mahaz-e-Azadi. However, People's League, an important executive committee member, which had not attended the meetings of Hurriet, today joined the deliberations at Mirwaiz Manzil. People's League was represented by Mukhtayar Ahmad Sofi. Others who attended the meeting included senior separatist leader and Democratic Freedom Party chairman Shabir Ahmad Shah. The six- hour meeting deliberated on all the issues threadbare particularly about the unification of all the separatist outfits. Some separatist leaders made proposals that can help in bringing together two factions of Hurriyat Conference. One proposal made by the leaders was that both Ansari and Geelani should step down and a third and neutral separatist leader should be made adhoc chairman. Second proposal put forth by the leaders was that both leaders should step down and an election for chairman should be held and the person who is elected should be made chairman and both Geelani and Ansari should accept the verdict. The meeting, however, did not reach any conclusion today and it was decided that the second round of talks would be held after Eid in which the proposals would be further discussed. At the conclusion of the meeting, founder chairman of Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umar Farooq told media persons that his efforts to forge unity among the separatists camp would continue. He said there was a craving among all the leaders that separatists should join together and launch a joint battle for the right of self determination. Mirwaiz said it was unfortunate that some separatist's leaders did not turn up for the meeting. 'We will continue our efforts to bring unity among the separatists. The absence of key leaders will not hamper our efforts', he said. Former Hurriyat chairman said if the leaders did not show interest in the unity efforts then they would go to the people and apprise them about their unity efforts. Meanwhile, Hurriyat executive and general council is meeting tomorrow to discuss the centre's fresh peace efforts. It will be the first meeting of general council after Hurriyat spilt.