Srinagar: Senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani on Monday resigned from a faction of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) he led for over 15 years, stating indiscipline, lack of commitment and corruption by many party members as reasons for parting his ways with the separatist bloc.
In a letter dated June 28, the 90-year-old leader said his decision stems from the complaints of "nepotism, participation in the state apparatus, internal rivalry and corruption" he received against members of APHC in the last two years.
Geelani, who has been confined to his Hyderpora residence in Srinagar for over a decade, lashed out at the Hurriyat (G) members who were not arrested as the government moved to abrogate Article 370 on August 5, 2019.
"There were expectations from the Hurriyat leadership who were outside jails or were beyond the state's reach, hostility and persecution failed to guide the masses," he wrote.
"But, when these leaders were subjected to accountability and provided answers regarding their absence, a shura (advisory council) meeting was called despite persecution and a pandemic," Geelani added while addressing constituents of APHC.
A high-profile separatist considered to enjoy unparalleled popularity within the separatist constituency, Geelani, in the letter, accused his constituents of insubordination.
"You also supported the unconstitutional decisions of your representatives (based in Pakistan) and rallied together in this regard," Geelani added.
Geelani, however, stated that Abdullah Gillani, also based in Pakistan, will continue to represent him in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and all other international forums.
Pertinently, Geelani has been a three-time Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir: in 1972, 1977, and 1987. He renounced electoral politics following the outbreak of armed insurgency in the region and co-founded Hurriyat conference in the early 1990s.
Geelani had been a full-time member of the now-banned Jamaat e Islami (JeI) for nearly 50 years before he parted ways with the socio-religious organisation to pursue his political aspiration through Tehreek e Hurriyat (TeH), a party he formed in the early 2000s.
The nonagenarian leader also parted his ways with united APHC following his disagreements with Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, GM Bhat, Moulvi Abbas Ansari, and Bilal Lone. Geelani's popularity grew hugely when he opposed Pakistan's President Parvez Musharraf, the only Hurriyat leader to do so, thus asserting his will and muscle on the matters of Kashmir's polity and future.
Formed in 2004, Hurriyat (G) is, currently, an amalgam of as many as over a dozen different pro-freedom parties, including TeH, Muslim League (ML) of which Masarat Alam is a member, Shabir Shah-led PDF and other smaller groups like Islamic Political Party, Democratic Muslim League, Mass Movement, Insaaf Party, Tehreek-e-Mazahmat, Tehreek-e-Wahdat-e-Islami, People’s Political League, Peirwan-e-Walayat and Social and Peace Forum.
Earlier, Ashraf Sehrai, a long-time lieutenant of Geelani from his Jamaat days, was appointed as chairman of TeH in March 2018.
Most of these parties have their representatives in Kashmir under Pakistan's control too and Geelani's rage, sources say, is directed more towards the leadership there. "A serious rift had emerged after Geelani appointed Abdullah Gillani as his representative against Ghulam Muhammad Safi, both based in Pakistan. This also resulted in internal friction inside TeH," a source privy to the developments told NewsClick.
Geelani's parting ways with APHC is also seen in the backdrop of his deteriorating health and a possible churn in the separatist politics faced with a leadership vacuum. The resignation is likely to provide a level field for future probables like Masarat Alam Bhat.
Officials in the security establishment say Geelani, known for his shrewdness throughout his political history, has yet again ruffled many feathers on both sides of the Line of Control.
"Even as my health is deteriorating, there is no weakness in my sentiment for freedom. I would continue to fight against the Indian imperialism till my last breath," Geelani wrote in the letter.
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