Syed Ali Shah Geelani has announced his resignation from Hurriyat Conference.
New Delhi/ Jammu:
Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the face of Kashmir's separatist politics for over three decades, has quit the Hurriyat Conference, the biggest separatist amalgam in Kashmir. The 90-year-old, who had led the separatist movement in Kashmir Valley since the 1990s, was a lifelong chairman of the Hurriyat.
He has mostly been in house arrest since 2010, when anger and violence over police firing on protesters consumed Kashmir.
In an audio message, Syed Ali Shah Geelani said he was announcing his resignation from the All Party 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," said Mr Geelani in an audio message released this morning.
This marks a major development for separatist politics in Jammu and Kashmir after the government ended its special status under the constitution's Article 370 in August last, split it into two union territories and enforced massive restrictions in movement besides jailing scores of leaders.
Sources say Mr Geelani had been facing criticism from groups in Pakistan for what they called his failure to respond to the government's big move. Many questioned the silence of the separatist hardliner, who was prone to calls for protest shutdowns and election boycotts.
A three-time MLA from Sopore, Mr Geelani quit electoral politics after militancy erupted in Kashmir. Recent reports have claimed that he has been unwell.