September 2003 News

Geelani Breaks Hurriyat In Half

7 September 2003
The Asian Age

Srinagar: The Hurriyat Conference seems to be on the verge of a split as half of its constituents have pledged their support to rebel leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. They have also vowed not to budge unless India acknowledges the 'right to self-determination' of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. More important, the participants of a parallel meeting of the Hurriyat Conference general council held at Syed Geelani's house here on Sunday expressed no confidence in the conglomerate chairman, Maulvi Abbas Ansari. Kashmir watchers say that this would facilitate Syed Geelani's dream project of launching a new political party. His mission of taking more and more political groups, particularly those unhappy with the Hurriyat's high-profile central executive, seems to be going on the right track. But Shia cleric politician Maulvi Abbas shrugged off Sunday's meeting, saying that disciplinary action would be taken against the rebels soon. 'Most of them wanted to be elevated and brought on the Hurriyat Conference executive. We told them their request would be considered on merit but before doing that its constitution needed to be amended,' he told The Asian Age. He added: 'But apparently knowing well that they stand nowhere politically, they chose to indulge in a childish act. They will have to pay the price for that.' The leaders of the 13 constituents of the 25-member conglomerate closeted at Syed Geelani's residence at Hyderpora to discuss threadbare the situation arising out of its leadership's 'deviating from the constitution of the Hurriyat Conference' and 'betraying the sacrifices rendered by the people of the state in the freedom struggle.' They also alleged that the recent election of Maulvi Abbas Ansari was 'manipulated,' and hence ought to be declared null and void. A five-member special committee set up at the meeting was assigned to establish contact with the other constituents of the conglomerate and take them into confidence, sources close to Syed Geelani said. Massarat Aalam, who heads the Muslim League, is the convenor of the committee, who will be assisted by Gulam Nabi Sumji (Muslim Conference), Aga Syed Hassan (Anjuman-e-Shara-i-Shian), Firdous Ahmed Shah (Islamic Students League) and Dr Gulam Muhammad Hubbi (People's Conference faction) in the effort. The other prominent second-rung leaders of the Hurriyat Conference who attended the meeting include Naeem Khan of the Kashmir Front and Ms Fareeda of Kashmir Mass Movement. The sources said that it was unanimously decided at the meeting that the struggle would continue till the Union government acknowledged the 'right to self- determination' of the people of the state. 'Almost every participant was of the view that the most agreeable option available on Kashmir is the implementation of the relevant UN Security Council resolutions,' said Mr Shah. Soon after the meeting, Syed Geelani left for southern Anantnag where he was scheduled to address a public rally as part of his campaign to muster support of people from across the Valley. Maulvi Abbas, while rejecting criticism, said disciplinary action would be taken against all those who participated in Sunday's 'unauthorised' meeting. He said a similar meeting was held again under the chairmanship of Syed Geelani a few years ago but the participants, including the Kashmir Liberation Council and Kashmir Political Conference, paid the price for it as they were thrown out of the conglomerate soon thereafter. 'Likewise, action will be taken against everybody who was there in the meeting (at Syed Geelani's house) for showing indiscipline and disrespect to the Hurriyat Conference constitution,' he said.


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