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J&K: APHC leaders Farooq, Geelani meet

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
June 19, 2008 22:37 IST
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Leaders of the two factions of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference met in Srinagar on Thursday for the first time after their split in 2003.

Mirwaiz Moulvi Omar Farooq, accompanied by another senior separatist leader of his group, visited the uptown Hyderpora residence of Syed Ali Shah Geelani for talks, which continued for over six hours.

After the meeting, the leaders of both factions of the APHC announced setting up of a six member committee including three members from both factions to hammer out differences between them.

The leaders had met to chalk out "a common resistance programme against the allotment of 40 hectares of forest land to Sri Amarnath Shrine Board in the north Kashmir Baltel base camp area of the annual pilgrimage that got underway yesterday."

The two groups of APHC also agreed to support the legal committee announced by the hardline separatist leader Geelani earlier, which would explore legal options of the case.

Thursday's day-long meeting is seen as a breakthrough in the five-year long stalemate between the estranged separatist leaders and also as a first step towards the re-unification of the conglomerate.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar