Geelani heckled by Mirwaiz supporters in downtown Srinagar

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Srinagar, Oct 16 (UNI) Breakaway Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani today had to face the wrath of the supporters of moderate amalgam head Mirwaiz Umar Farooq when he visited old city today to express sympathy with victims of a major fire yesterday.

Eyewitnesses said soon after Mr Geelani reached Chandapora near grand Jamia mosque in old city this morning to express sympathy with the victims of the major fire which devastated at least a dozen residential houses last evening, he was allegedly heckled by the supporters of the Mirwaiz.

The Mirwaiz supporters allegedly shouted slogans against Mr Geelani and asked him to leave the place.

The witnesses said Mr Geelani's supporters retorted, shouting back at the rival group. The firebrand leader defused the tension by pacifying his supporters.

He later addressed the fire victims. Property worth crores of rupees was destroyed in the blaze.

A war of words had erupted between the Mirwaiz and Mr Geelani in the recent past over offering of Eid prayers at the Eidgah grounds after nearly 20 years.

While Mr Geelani accused the Mirwaiz of being an ''agent'' of Indian intelligence agencies, the moderate Hurriyat chairman charged the hardliner with being the ''main hurdle'' in the way of unity among the warring separatist groups.

Mr Geelani later withdrew his Eidgah programme, apprehending violent clashes while the Mirwaiz group went ahead with its schedule and offered Eid prayers there.

A breakaway Hurriyat spokesman blamed ''Indian agents'' for the incident, saying these people were scared of the growing popularity of Mr Geelani in Jammu and Kashmir and at the international level.

UNI

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