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Separatists' unity under strain in Jammu

Press Trust Of India
Aug 19, 2008 at 01:58pm IST

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Srinagar: The new-found unity among separatists groups in Kashmir came under heavy strain on Monday as hardline Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani sought an oath from people to declare him as the leader of the ongoing agitation in the valley.

Geelani's call did not go down well with moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, prompting the hardline leader and his aides to go on a damage control exercise.

"If any word of my speech at the rally (at Tourist Reception Centre Ground) has the potential to harm the unity of the (freedom) movement, I sincerely apologise for it," Geelani told reporters at a hurriedly convened press conference at his residence.

DIFFERENCES: Geelani's call to become the leader of the agitation did not go down well with Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq.

He said the freedom movement was above personalities and

the cause of the nation should be supreme consideration.

Earlier, media advisor to the moderate Hurriyat Conference

Shahidul Islam said his amalgam did not agree with Geelani's utterance about leadership issue at the rally.

"The present movement is due to the joint leadership of all sections of society which includes both Hurriyats," he added.

The separatist sources said Geelani has rushed close aide Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai to the residence of the Mirwaiz to "clear" the air between the two sides. All attempts to reach the Mirwaiz for his comments did not fructify.

Meanwhile, in the morning army seized 10 kg of RDX from Rajaouri district in Jammu but the state is calm. Though the strike has been relaxed for three days, the state still continues to remain on the edge.

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