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For AAC, hardline Geelani is a former MLA

Feb 10, 2007:

The war of words between the moderate and hardline faction of Kashmir's All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) is raging on, with this time the Awami Action Committee (AAC), describing Syed Ali Shah Geelani as a former legislator.

AAC is a socio-political party headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and a constituent of the moderate faction of APHC, while Geelani heads the rival hardline faction of APHC.

Reacting to the reported offer of ceasing chairmanship of APHC by Geelani, the AAC in a statement issued today chose to describe Geelani as a "Rukn (member) of Jamaat Islami and former Member of Legislative Assembly".

For Kashmir separatists demanding separation from India, mainstream politics is considered a taboo. Geelani has however served as a legislator in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly before the outbreak of anti-India insurgency in Indian administered Kashmir. He is considered the most hardline separatist and consistent secessionist voice in Kashmir today.

In a public rally at Ganderbal on Friday, Geelani had reportedly offered to cease chairmanship of his faction, if "all the separatist groups in Kashmir unite under the slogan of self determination".

Taking a dig at Geelani, AAC said that Geelani was "unaware of the meaning of self-determination".

"Self determination means a right to determine one's own future. Except for the pro-India groups all the parties have been fighting for this right in Kashmir since 1947. Even Pakistan has repeatedly said that only a solution which is acceptable to Kashmiris will be accepted," the AAC spokesman said.

"If Geelani says that General Musharraf's proposal for demilitarisation, which is supported by APHC chairman Mirwaiz Umar, amounts to treason and deviation from principle goal and, then the majority of the population of Jammu and Kashmir has repeatedly committed this treason," he added.

The APHC, a conglomerate of two dozen separatist groups in Kashmir split in 2003 with Geelani heading the hardline group.

While Geelani claims that the implementation of the United Nations resolutions are the only solution to the vexed Kashmir issue, Mirwaiz has shown flexibility and calls for the resolution of the Kashmir tangle with a joint control of New Delhi and Islamabad, the suggestion mocked by Geelani.

Mirwaiz on his recent visit to Islamabad had also said that the guns in Kashmir ‘had only filled graveyards’.


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