Sehrai replaces Geelani as Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman

Frederick Owens
March 20, 2018

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.

Senior Hurriyat leader Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai (78) on Monday replaced Syed Ali Shah Geelani (89) as the chairman of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat. "Merely holding a position without practical contribution is injustice not only with the post but to the conscience as well".

"So today I willfully step-down from the chairmanship, and advise the shoora to arrange an alternative at the earliest". This is seen as important step in drawing curtains on Geelani's political career spanning more than half a century, which saw him elected as member of the Legislative Assembly for 15 years before quitting the electoral politics and joining separatist campaign in Jammu and Kashmir.

The elections to the post would be held towards the end of the year and until then, the post will be held by Sehrai.

Till now Sehrai, who is Geelani's close aide and friend, was the general secretary of the party. When 1987 elections were announced, Sehrai was at his home in Kupwara.

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

The change of guard also comes at a time of an unprecedented crackdown by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) on the separatist camp. Geelani is not keeping well for the past several years. They are now detained in Tihar Jail in New Delhi.

In 2017, the NIA had filed a case against Geelani and other Hurriyat leaders for allegedly receiving money from the Lashkar-e-Taiba to fund subversive activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

When JeI J&K made a decision to launch its student wing, Sehraie was chosen to lead Shooba-i-Talaba since 1977.

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