Separatist Leader Geelani quits Hurriyat Conference
NEW DELHI : Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the chairman of the pro-Pakistan Hurriyat Conference, made a surprise announcement of completely dissociating himself from the 16-party amalgam on Monday.
Alleging lack of accountability and a brewing rebellion in the ranks. He has mostly been in house arrest since 2010, when anger and violence over police firing on protesters consumed Kashmir.
This marks a major development for separatist politics in Jammu and Kashmir after the government ended its special status under the constitution’s Article 370 in August last, split it into two union territories and enforced massive restrictions in movement besides jailing scores of leaders.
The 90-year-old Geelani, the most prominent of pro-Pakistan separatists in the Kashmir Valley, has been chairman of the conglomerate since its inception in 2003. He has been politically inactive of late, particularly since the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year which had far-reaching consequences for the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Geelani accused separatist leaders based in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir of being opportunist and using the platform of Kashmir for their personal gains. He made these charges in a letter, titled “in view of the current state of the Hurriyat Conference”, to the constituents of the amalgam.
Geelani, who was a founding member of the undivided Hurriyat Conference set up in 1993, broke away in 2003 after he had differences with other factions for adopting a moderate approach.
In a four-line letter and an audio message to the media, a spokesperson for the 90-year-old leader said, “Geelani has announced complete dissociation from Hurriyat Conference forum.”
In his letter to all constituents of the amalgam, Geelani spoke about the reasons behind his decision to leave the Hurriyat Conference, of which he had been nominated as the lifetime chairman, he said. Geelani, a three-time MLA from Sopore, quit electoral politics after militancy erupted in Kashmir.
Geelani said the activities of Hurriyat Conference members currently in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir were being investigated by the amalgam for various allegations.
“The activities of these representatives were limited now to seeking access to assemblies and ministries for joining the government there (PoK). Some members were expelled while others started holding their own meetings. These activities were endorsed by you (constituents) by holding a meeting here to ratify their decisions,” he said in his letter.
He referred to inaction by the Hurriyat members post the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, and the division of the erstwhile state into two Union territories.
Geelani said he was forced by the constituent parties in 2003 to take over the reins of the Hurriyat Conference and was made its lifetime chairman later. “The lack of discipline and other shortcomings were ignored and you did not allow a robust accountability system to be established over the years but today, you have crossed all limits and indulged in rebellion against the leadership,” he added.
(With Agency Inputs ).