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Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani announces disassociation from Hurriyat Conference

Syed Ali Shah Geelani has quit Hurriyat Conference, the biggest separatist political front in Kashmir. 

Jun 30, 2020 13:22 IST
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Syed Ali Shah Geelani has quit Hurriyat Conference, the biggest separatist political front in Kashmir. The 90-year-old had been the face of Kashmir's separatist politics for over three decades.

Geelani has been blamed for the rise in militancy and bloodshed in Kashmir. He is known to have called numerous strikes or shutdowns, in response to the deaths of unnamed suspected militants, local militants and the death of civilians in Kashmir.

The separatist leader announced his resignation from the All Party Hurriyat Conference through an audio message. He announced his complete dissociation from the forum in the view of the current state of the Hurriyat Conference. He informed that he has already sent a detailed letter to all constituents of the forum.

Geelani also released a two-page letter accusing the constituents of Hurriyat of inaction after the scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. The letter also accuses the Hurriyat constituents of conspiring against him and pairing with PoK’s Hurriyat chapter, which had targeted him. 

He also slammed the Hurriyat constituents for ignoring lack of discipline and other shortcomings, having a lack of accountability and indulging in rebellion against the leadership.

Who will be his successor?

Syed Ali Shah Geelani has named Abdullah Geelani as his successor to lead Hurriyat Conference. Abdullah Geelani is also a Rawalpindi-based pro-Pakistan hardliner. 

Significance

 Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s resignation from the Hurriyat Conference marks a new chapter in the separatist politics of Jammu and Kashmir. It marks a major development after the centre withdrew the special status of J&K by revoking Article 370 and splitting the state into two Union Territories and enforcing massive restrictions in the movement of opposition leaders and putting certain leaders under preventive detention including three former Chief Ministers- Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. 

Background 

Syed Ali Shah Geelani had led the separatist movement in Kashmir Valley since the 1990s. He was a lifelong chairman of the Hurriyat. He was mostly kept under house arrest since 2010 when anger and violence over police firing on protesters consumed Kashmir.

The separatist hardliner had reportedly been attacked by groups in Pakistan for his failure to respond to the government's big move of withdrawing J&K’s special status. Many questioned his silence, as he had in the past called for protest shutdowns and election boycott. 

Who is Syed Ali Shah Geelani?

Syed Ali Shah Geelani is a key separatist leader in Kashmir. He has been held accountable for the rise in militancy in Kashmir.

In October 2013, he was re-elected for the fourth time to serve as the chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G) three-year term. The Hurriyat Conference is a faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, which split up in 2003.

Geelani founded the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat party, to which he was separately re-elected as chairman for a three-year term in September 2013.

Following the death of Burhan Muzaffar Wani and the 2016 Kashmir Unrest that lasted for five consecutive months, Geelani had sent a letter to the United Nations listing six Confidence Building measures to restore normalcy in Kashmir.

Geelani is a three-time MLA from Sopore constituency of Jammu and Kashmir. He was elected three times -1972,1977 and 1987.

Sedition Charge

In November 2010, Geelani, along with writer Arundhati Roy and four others were charged with sedition under Section 124 A, they were accused of promoting enmity between classes under Section 153A and were booked under other sections as well such as 153B, 504 and 505 for false statement and circulation of rumours with intent to cause a mutiny. The charges carried a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

 

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