Three senior separatist leaders on Wednesday joined the Hurriyat group led by hardline Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani.
Chairman of separatist Democratic Freedom Party Shabir Shah, National Front chairman Nayeem Ahmad Khan and prominent Shia cleric Aga Syed Hassan -- who is also president of Anjuman-e-Sharie Shian -- announced that they have joined the Geelani-led Hurriyat group.
The decision was announced at Geelani's uptown Hyderpora residence in Srinagar city at a press conference.
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"Today our resistance movement faces a lot of challenges. And we have to face it jointly," Geelani said at the joint press conference.
Shia cleric Hassan, who recently quit the Mirwaiz Umar-led moderate Hurriyat group, said the separatists decided to join Geelani "in the larger interest of the resistance movement".
Senior separatist leader Shabir Shah said the separatist leaders have a common stand on the Kashmir issue.
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"The Kashmir issue must be resolved according to the Hurriyat constitution which envisages implementation of UN resolutions or tripartite talks under the supervision of friendly countries as an option to resolve this dispute," he said.
Shah said India and Pakistan can't move forward without resolution of the Kashmir issue which he described as a core issue. "This unity is a must in the wake of the RSS onslaught," he said, referring to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's remark of dealing with Kashmiri separatist leaders "strictly".
Referring to the Peoples Democratic Party-Bharatiya Janata Party coalition government in the state, Geelani said the present dispensation has continued the policies of previous governments by squeezing the political space of separatist leaders.
"If such policies continue, it will have serious repercussions," he warned.
The separatist leader said the struggle was not directed against Indian people or other community and added that "we are fighting for our right of self-determination for all Kashmiris irrespective of religion".
"If any innocent gets killed in India, Pakistan or anywhere, our heart hurts. We condemn the innocent killings wherever it happens," he said.