Syed Ali Shah Geelani, upset with colleagues, quits Hurriyat

Published : June 30, 2020 14:29 IST

Syed Ali Shah Geelani. A file picture. Photo: NISSAR AHMAD

In an unanticipated move on Monday, Kashmir’s veteran pro-resistance leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani quit as chief of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference, highlighting in a letter the “faults and errors of my colleagues”.

His sudden departure from an active position within the hardline Hurriyat has been attributed to his frustration with his associates’' failure to offer resistance to New Delhi’'s political incursions in the Kashmir Vvalley, which included the August 5 unilateral revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’'s semi-autonomous status.

The 91-year-old leader alluded to his dissatisfaction with his colleagues in his resignation letter. “ After August 5, the leaders who were not arrested were expected to lead the people, give them hope. Despite my house detention and government’'s curbs, I searched hard for you, but you were not available. I couldn’'t do much because of my health and detention. .

He further wrote: “"It is beyond my capacity to be answerable to the faults and errors of my colleagues besides my own. You are free to make a decision for yourself.. In view of the present circumstances after pondering over the entire issue, I have decided to dissociate from the Hurriyat Conference.”

Geelani, long seen as a stern advocate of Kashmir’'s merger with Pakistan, was no less scathing of the Hurriyat leadership in Pakistan and in Pakistan-occupied administered Kashmir." He called the Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied administered Kashmir bodies as “just a representative forum” with “no power to take any decision” and said that they were "using theirits influence only to “get close to power corridors” in Pakistan.

The Hurriyat Conference was formed in 1993 as an umbrella body of pro-resistance groups to press for the resolution of the Kashmir conflict with a reference to the people. The group splintered in 2003 as the moderate faction was willing to negotiate with New Delhi to chart out a solution based on more autonomy and free movement of people between the Indian side and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. Geelani since then headed the hardline faction that advocated Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan. He has been under house arrest for several years in Srinagar.

The moderate faction is led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who has been under house arrest since August last year.

The latest development has turned the spotlight on the question of succession in the Hurriyat, something people had been animatedly discussing in the past decade, as Geelani kept in indifferent health.

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