Hurriyat All Set To Gauge Jammu's Mood
1 February 2006
The Indian Express
Srinagar: As part of his much-hyped effort to start the first intra-Kashmir dialogue for a consensus on Kashmir issue, moderate Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq will address a public rally at Shaheedi Chowk in Jammu on Thursday. This will be for the first time that the group will exclusively address people traditionally hostile to its agenda. The Hurriyat is taking no chances. As against its programmes in the Valley, the amalgam is making all arrangements to make its programme successful. About 150 mini-buses and Sumos and more than 100 bikes, which will mobilise people across the Jammu province, have been arranged. A huge gathering of people will welcome Mirwaiz at Jammu airport and take him in a procession to the rally venue. 'We are only 30 political workers from the Valley. The audience will be from Jammu,' says Shahidul Islam, Hurriyat spokesman. The audience, Islam says, will come from six districts of Jammu. The objective is to turn the rally into a 'resounding public demonstration' of the support for Hurriyat in the province. The preparation started long back. In fact, National People's Party (NPP), one of the constituents of Hurriyat, has been camping in Jammu for the last three months to do the ground work. 'Over these months, we held interaction with a cross-section of people in the province, which has created a goodwill for the Hurriyat,' says Rafiq Ahmad, General Secretary of the NPP. Saleem Geelani, chairman of the NPP, has also held meetings with J-K BJP president Dr Nirmal Singh and leaders of the Dogra Front and Jammu Mukti Morcha. 'They all welcomed Hurriyat's initiative and called for a dialogue with various political forces in the state,' says Rafiq. The J&K Government's permission to hold rally at the historical Shaheedi Chowk, located in the heart of Jammu city, was also a prompt decision.