Another hardliner takes charge of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat

21 March 2018, 03:25 | Kristine Mills

Kashmir: Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai takes over from Geelani as Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairperson

Syed Ali Shah Geelani quits as Tehreek-e-Hurriyat party chairman but will continue to head Hurriyat

Senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani on Monday stepped down from the chairmanship of his party, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.

Geelani, 88, cited his falling health and curbs on him by government as reason for resigning from the post of TeH's chairman. Due to huge support from the separatist constituency in Kashmir, the Jamaat was forced to make peace with Geelani and became a member of the TeH and Geelani-led Hurriyat Conference.

Geelani's close aide Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai was appointed as the chairman of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH). "I extend my fullest cooperation and honest wishes to the would-be leadership of the organization", Geelani, as per the TeH statement said.

Some months ago, Sehrai wrote a five-page letter to Geelani expressing his displeasure about some developments within the faction.

However, in 2010, Jamat-e-Islami (JeI) suspended Geelani from the basic membership of the party over the "adverse" remarks made against his parent outfit in a new controversial biography.

Geelani's son-in-law Altaf Fantoosh was said to be the one in charge of party operations to a good extent.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani quits as Tehreek-e-Hurriyat party chairman but will continue to head Hurriyat
J&K: Hurriyat Leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani Resigns As Tehreek-E-Hurriyat Chairman

Geelani has been vocal about the separation of Kashmir from India. Tehreek-e-Hurriyat knows what to do after my death.

The change of guard also comes at a time of an unprecedented crackdown by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on the separatist camp. The 89-year-old leader has been continuously put under house arrest for the past 8 years.

Geelani floated the TeH after the Hurriyat Conference split in 2003.

He is credited to have worked as a "foot soldier" in JeI in the trying times.

In 2016, Sehrai, a resident of Kupwara, had rejected the membership of Geelani's son Naeem, who had returned from Pakistan after many years, while saying that being a "pious Muslim and a pro-freedom activist" are the pre-requisites to be a part of the faction.

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