Attempting to forge a unity between various separatist groups in Kashmir, Hurriyat Conference moderate faction chief Mirwaiz Umer Farooq invited hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and JKLF’s Yasin Malik to attend the Eid congregation next week. The All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) had split in 2003 when Geelani had slammed the People’s Conference of Abdul Gani Lone, one of the constituents of the Mirwaiz conglomerate, for fielding proxy candidates in the 2002 assembly elections. Geelani was against participation in the elections.
Addressing a congregation at Jamia Masjid on the last Friday of Ramzan, the Mirwaiz said, “I invite Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Yasin Malik to join me for Eid namaz to demonstrate unity of various separatist groups.’’ In the same breath, he asked people to celebrate Eid without fanfare in view of deaths of 65 people in the ongoing turmoil. There remains a great deal of mutual suspicion between the hawks and the moderates, and to some political analysts, the Mirwaiz’s proposition does not amount to anything more than a trial balloon.