Syed Ali Shah Geelani Resigns as Chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat

However, the 89-year-old will continue to chair the hard-line faction of the Hurriyat Conference since he has been elected as life-time chairman of the separatist conglomerate.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani's long-time lieutenant Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai on Monday replaced him as chairperson of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, a constituent of the Hurriyat Conference, the Kashmir News Service reported. He has rarely been allowed to move out of his house in uptowan Hyderpora locality that remains under round-the-clock security vigil.

Finally the speculation of inheritance was put to an end as senior Hurriyat leader Muhammad Ashraf Sehra was handed over the reins of Hurriyat Conference by Syed Ali Geelani. He has already undergone surgeries for heart and kidney ailments in the past.

A spokesman of TeH said a meeting of Majlis-e-Shoora (advisory body) of the organisation was held today during which Geelani announced to step down as party chairman.

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Geelani has been repeatedly criticised by Indian authorities for promoting violence in the state and working as an agent of Pakistan. We all have chosen this rough and torturous path willfully and wishfully and every testing endure makes our resolve hard and strong.

"By merely holding a position without practical contribution is injustice not only with the post but the conscience as well".

Later, the Shura unanimously appointed Sehrai as interim chairman. Geelani is one of the main separatist leaders in Kashmir.

There were many contenders, including his son Naeem Geelani, Democratic Freedom Party head Shabir Shah and Muslim League chairman Masarat Alam, who were tipped to succeed Mr. Geelani as the TeH's chairman.

  • Tabitha Byrd