Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani quits Hurriyat Conference over nepotism

Last Updated 29 June 2020, 14:04 IST

In a significant development, ailing separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani on Monday resigned as chairman of the hardline faction of Hurriyat Conference, while accusing Pakistan-based separatist leadership of nepotism and political corruption

In a two-page letter, the nonagenarian separatist leader, who remained the face of Kashmir's separatist politics for over three decades, accused the Pakistan-based separatist leadership of nepotism and political corruption.

Geelani also accused the Pakistan-based separatists of misinterpreting his speeches and taking decisions arbitrarily without keeping him in the loop. He also accused constituents of the Hurriyat of inaction after the scrapping of Article 370.

“I sent messages to you (Hurriyat leaders) through various means so the next course of action could be decided but all my efforts were in vain. Now that the sword of accountability is hanging over your heads for the financial and other irregularities, you thought of calling the advisory committee meeting," he wrote.

In the letter, the nonagenarian separatist accused Hurriyat constituents of hatching “conspiracy and resorting to lies against him” and also teaming up with the Hurriyat chapter in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, which had targeted him. “Instead of reprimanding them, you called a meeting in Srinagar and ratified their stand. You people have become part of the conspiracy and lies," the letter reads.

A three-time MLA from north Kashmir’s Sopore, Geelani quit electoral politics after militancy erupted in Kashmir in 1990. The Hurriyat Conference was formed in March 1993 as a united political platform of the separatist parties in Kashmir.

Ten years after its formation, the Hurriyat split into the moderate group headed by Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and the hardline group headed by Geelani. Earlier in March 2018, Geelani had resigned as chairman of his party Tehreek-e-Hurriyat but had decided to continue to head the hardline Hurriyat faction then. He had cited his falling health and curbs on him by the government as a reason for resigning then.

Since the last few years Geelani’s health, his funeral, and aftereffects of his death have remained a talking point within the administration. In December last year after a rumor about his death, Jammu & Kashmir administration made a plan to brace itself for any eventuality.

While at the moment it is not clear who will take over the hardline faction of Hurriyat, as the power vacuum created by the exit will be too large to fill by any existing leaders as Geelani’s sway remains unparalleled in the separatist ecosystem.

(Published 29 June 2020, 07:43 IST)

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