Grappling with factionalism, All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) Sunday suffered another major jolt after the chairman of the Tehreek-e- Hurriyat, Mohd Ashraf Sehrai was arrested by the Jammu and Kashmir police from his residence in Srinagar.
According to the initial reports, Sehrai was picked up by the police after he was booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA). The details of the charges could not be ascertained immediately.
According to official sources along with Mohd Ashraf Sehrai, at least one dozen members of the separatist camp were picked up by the police from different areas of the city.
Since August 5, Ashraf Sehrai was already serving house arrest and was not allowed to step out of his residence at Baghaat Barzulla in Srinagar.
On May 19, 2020, Sehrai’s son, Junaid who was the district commander of Hizbul Mujahideen, was killed by the security forces after he refused to lay down arms in Nawakadal area of downtown Srinagar.
Sehari had taken over the reins of Tehreek-e- Hurriyat in March 2018 after hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani had stepped down from the post.
All is not well within the separatist camp, especially in the All Parties Hurriyat Conference. On June 29, Syed Ali Shah Geelani had tendered his resignation as Chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference accusing fellow leaders of his camp of abandoning Kashmiri citizens after the abrogation of Article 370 and reorganization of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.
Geelani, a former MLA, also remained at the forefront of the separatist movement in Kashmir valley since 1993. All Parties Hurriyat Conference, a conglomerate of various separatist groups, was formed on July 13, 1993. Since 2010, Geelani remained closeted at his Hyderpora house in Srinagar.
In his resignation letter, Geelani had clearly stated, “I sent messages to you through various means so the next course of action could be decided but all my efforts were in vain. Now that the sword of accountability is hanging over your heads for the financial and other irregularities, you thought of calling the advisory committee meeting.”
In his letter, he also accused Hurriyat constituents of hatching “conspiracy and resorting to lies against him” and also teaming up with the Hurriyat chapter in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK), which had targeted him. “Instead of reprimanding them, you called a meeting in Srinagar and ratified their stand. You people have become part of the conspiracy and lies,” said the letter.
“The lack of discipline and other shortcomings were ignored and you did not allow a robust accountability system to be established over the years but today, you have crossed all limits and indulged in rebellion against the leadership,” wrote Geelani before hanging his boots permanently.
Days after Syed Ali Shah Geelani tendered his resignation, moderate Hurriyat faction leaders also met away from the media glare to take stock of the prevailing situation.
Senior executive members of the Hurriyat Conference Prof Abdul Gani Bhat and Maulana Abbas Ansari, two former chairmen of the conglomerate, and Bilal Lone were among those who attended the meeting. Chairman of the moderate Hurriyat faction, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq could not attend the meeting as he was put under house arrest.
In its first public statement in the last 11 months, Hurriyat Conference reiterated its “basic stand that the Kashmir dispute has to be resolved peacefully as per the wishes and aspirations of people of J&K, among the three stakeholders including India, Pakistan, and J&K.”
The Hurriyat faction maintained that “dialogue among the three stakeholders is the best alternative method to resolve the issue that All Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has consistently advocated and even participated in,” adding resolution of the Kashmir issue was the “best guarantee of real peace and prosperity” in the subcontinent.
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
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