Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Monday announced his decision to quit the Hurriyat Conference, the biggest separatist amalgam in Kashmir.
The 90-year-old ailing separatist leader had led the separatist movement in Kashmir since the 1990s and was a lifelong chairman of the Hurriyat (G).
A three-time MLA from Sopore, Geelani quit electoral politics after militancy erupted in Kashmir in early nineties. He has been unwell for the past many years and his health has deteriorated further lately. In an audio message, Geelani said he was announcing his resignation from the Hurriyat Conference because of “the current circumstances” in the umbrella group.
“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,” Geelani said in the audio message released on Monday morning.
The ailing leader also released a two-page letter in which he accused the constituents of Hurriyat of inaction after the scrapping of Article 370 last August.
Following is the letter:
“Respected members of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, Jammu & Kashmir
Greetings (Assalamu Alykum)
May God grant His protection and peace to you, your families, and your friends. Amen.
We all believe in the reckoning of deeds before our Lord, and this belief should inform everything that we say or do.
This Movement (of ours) has a great value. It is nurtured by selfless service of (our) sincere workers, people’s spirit of sacrifice, and the sacred blood of our martyrs. We proclaim to be the trustees of this treasure, a collective capital of our nation. Our commitment and sincerity towards this trust guarantees our success. God forbid, if we breach this trust, and waste this treasure, we will disgrace ourselves in this world, and the next.
Respected members, as you all know that the status of the AJK Chapter of All Parties Hurriyat Conference is just that of a representative body. They are not authorised to take any decision, individual or collective. For the past some time, generally, and specifically for the last 2 years, many complaints were received about this AJK Chapter of APHC. Connecting family members with Assemblies and Ministries, and practically participating in the government structures there, infighting, internal bickering, financial misappropriations, and many such issues have become the subject of public discussions. Recently, after an investigation, some (members) were dismissed, and some more are under investigation. But this investigation was taken as an affront by the representatives residing there, and meetings were convened independently. As a consequence the organisational structure (existing) there was disbanded, till further orders. To circumvent the process of transparency and accountability in the forum your representatives started non-cooperating with the Convener. A propaganda campaign was also started, wherein condemnable efforts were made to raise doubts about my statements, and my messages to the nation. The intentions became clear when an investigation commission was instituted to sit on my last message for the people (wasiyah). (Not just this), violating all ethical, constitutional and organisation rules, a self-styled consultation (Shura) was held to constitute a parallel (organisational) structure. On these appalling instances of unethical conduct, breach of order, and non-cooperation, instead of reprimanding the representatives, you conducted a consultative meeting in Srinagar to authenticate these unconstitutional decisions. And by ascribing all this to my own orders, you have become a part of an ugly conspiracy and a stark lie, because I never issued any such orders.
Respected members. Last year, Indian forces made a self-styled proclamation to assimilate the state of J&K into the Indian Union, and the state was sliced into two parts; to repeat what happened in Palestine. To impose this hideous plan the entire nation was held hostage, all top and lower rung leaders, members and activists, lawyers and students, and thousands of others were arrested and taken to the jails outside the state of J&K. But those in the leadership who were not arrested, it was expected of them that regardless of the government restrictions and state oppression they would resist this manifest tyranny, they would encourage people, and deliver their bounden duty of leading people (from the front). Despite these unprecedented restrictions, and being under detention, I tried a lot to contact you. I sent regular messages, but to no avail. To chalk out a strategy for the future I didn’t allow my ailment, nor my decade long (house) arrest, to come in the way.
Today, when the sword of accountability is hanging over your heads, when you are feeling the heat of answerability, when cover is blowing off your financial misappropriations, and you are afraid of losing your positions, you gathered to convene a self-styled consultative conference; this despite the fact that there is pandemic, and there are official restrictions. (You gathered) to authenticate and support the unconstitutional decisions of your representatives, thus creating a bad example of unity. Then this drama was publicised well through your friendly publishing houses, making them also a party to this “unpalatable crime.”
Respected members. You were the ones who compelled me to hold the reigns of APHC in 2003, and become its life long patron. The matters related to the performance of this forum and misappropriations in it were always ignored in the “larger interest of the movement.” Government repression, regular arrests, frail finances and personal weakness never allowed to establish a strict and required system of accountability. But this time you haven’t just crossed the limits, and violated the organisational order, but have committed an open rebellion against the leadership.
Keeping in view the present situation, and taking the situation in its entirety into account I completely dissociate myself from All Parties Hurriyat Conference. My personal weaknesses and faults, and then the performance of the associates in the forum, I just can’t afford to be answerable. You are free to make your own decisions. Old age, frailty, and illnesses don’t mean the withering of spirit. My mind and my heart are not incapacitated, nor has my passion for freedom diminished. Till the time I leave this transient world I will fight against the Indian hegemony, and will continue to lead my people as much I can afford.
Mr Abdullah Geelani will continue to perform the duties as my representative in AJK and for the outside world.
I am grateful to you that in the last moments of my life your conduct has enabled me to take an important decision. In our association if I have committed any mistake, or if my word or deed caused hurt to you, or your emotions, I apologise for that.
May God be our succour.”
Syed Ali Geelani