The 90-year-old hardliner and separatist hawk Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Monday ended his disassociation with All Party Hurriyat Conference- Geelani faction known as APHC(G). A life long member, he announced this to Kashmir stating that “members are now free to choose their future course”.
The ailing leader has been the staunchest pro-Pakistan proponents but now he has been left to his own devices, walking away from APHC (G) which was named after him.
Sources said Geelani was attacked by groups in Pakistan for what they called- his failure to respond to the Modi government’s move on abrogation of Article 370 and 35A. Many questioned the silence of the separatist hardliner, who would otherwise give calls for protest shutdowns and boycott of elections.
But in the heart of the decision is the battle of legacy. Dr Naeem Geelani, the elder son, wanted to step into his father’s shoes.
In an important move, SAS Geelani entrusted Abdullah Geelani – a distant kin in POK – to represent him in APHC(G) and international platforms. But Abdullah was removed as convenor by Farooq Rehmani, POK leader who instead made Hussain Mohammed Khateeb, favoured by the ISI. Much of the deliberations have said to have happened over past one month.
That the ISI-led Pakistan group supported leaders in PoK over the 90-year-old or his son is seen to be bone of contention. The differences between who controls this conglomerate has led to unprecedented power tussle across the Line of Control (LoC).
A source watching over the development said, “Geelani has been the long standing proponent of Pakistan but himself now stands disillusioned. This has set the cat amongst other separatists, if such treatment is meted out to Geelani, what happens to them.”
Further, an observor of the situation said, “Pakistan lobby feels that the ‘old lot’ has outlived its utility and need young leaders against India. While they feel the separatist leaders let them down post August 5th.” While within the separatist group, they said they don’t believe in the Indian constitution, so opposing Article 370 is not relevant. Instead they would voice against domicile law.”
Post abrogation of Article 370 in August last, this is perhaps the most severe blow to separatists. While Mirwaiz Omar Farooq and Prof Abdul Ghani Bhat have been mute over developments, Yasin Malik and Shabeer Shah have been behind bars, arrested for several cases pertaining to terror funding. Considered a hawk, Geelani the most vociferous of Pak supporters was not touched owing to his ill health.
His own party Tehreek E Hurriyat has been led by Ashraf Sehrai, again with whom the 90-year-old is said to have differences. Further Sehrai who son was killed in encounter in Srinagar earlier this month seems to have growing clout.
The letter accused Hurriyat constituents of hatching “conspiracy and resorting to lies against him” and also teaming up with the Hurriyat chapter in Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
“In view of the current state of the Hurriyat Conference, I am announcing my complete dissociation from the forum. In this context I have already sent a detailed letter to all constituents of the forum,” said Geelani terse audio message.
Geelani also released a two-page letter in which he accused constituents of Hurriyat of “inaction” post August 5th.
“I sent messages to you 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.
A source said, “Perhaps Pakistan lobby felt that Geelani no longer served their purpose but after controversy may try to reach out to Geelani to do damage control.”
IndiaToday.in has plenty of useful resources that can help you better understand the coronavirus pandemic and protect yourself. Read our comprehensive guide (with information on how the virus spreads, precautions and symptoms), watch an expert debunk myths, and access our dedicated coronavirus page.
Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from