Ashraf Sehrai replaces Geelani as Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman

by Leon Thompson March 21, 2018, 3:24
Ashraf Sehrai replaces Geelani as Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman

"The Tehreek-e-Hurriyat led by Syed Ali Geelani today held a meeting at its office in Srinagar and elected senior member Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai as the party chairman", the ANI news agency quoted a Hurriyat spokesperson as saying. Sehrai lost to the National Conference (NC) candidate.

Geelani though will continue as the head of the Hurriyat Conference.

"In a unanimous decision taken in an extraordinary meeting of its highest decision making body (Majlis-e-Shoora) of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat appointed Mohammad Ashraf Sehraie as interim Chairman, till the organizational elections, to be held late this year", read a TeH statement. In fact, three years ago, Geelani had made a decision to nominate him as his successor in the Hurriyat but the announcement was halted at the last moment after some members questioned Geelani making a nomination when organisation had an election system. "The last eight years of continuous house arrest and restrictions on interacting with my party colleagues have dented the functioning of the organisation", he said. Geelani parted ways from Hurriyat Conference saying that several leaders of the grouping tacitly supported Assembly elections in 2002.

Geelani, who represented the Jamaat in the Hurriyat, was seen as a hardliner which didn't go down well with the former.

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Sehrai and Geelani, both strong votaries of implementation of the United Nations resolutions on Kashmir, have been close associates for nearly six decades, first in the Jamiat-e-Islami J&K and later in the TeH.

Observers say that Geelani's departure from active politics would have far-reaching impact on the politics of Kashmir.

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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