Close aide replaces ailing Syed Geelani as TeH chief

Rajnath Singh Home Minister Syed Alishah Geelani Hurriyat Conferenc Rajnath Singh Home Minister Syed Alishah Geelani Hurriyat Conferenc

Syed Ali Geelani

"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", a Hurriyat spokesperson said.

Sehrai, in his late 70s, is a senior leader of Hurriyat's hardline faction and, like Geelani, has been in and out of jail for years together. Tehreek-e-Hurriyat is a separatist organisation of Jammu and Kashmir founded on August 7, 2014.

Addressing the meeting, Geelani said due to his continuous house arrest for the past eight years, he had not been able to practically contribute to the cause, which was an "injustice" not only with the post but his conscience as well.

Geelani has been viewed as a key separatist leader in Kashmir Valley and has been vocal on advocating Kashmiri separatism.

Before conclusion Shoora unanimously appointed Mohammad Ashraf Sehraie as interim chairman till the party elections to be held later in the year. He extended his fullest cooperation and honest wishes to the would-be leadership of the organization.

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This did not go well with Geelani, who was then the head of the political bureau of Jamat and its representative in the Hurriyat.

Geelani's son-in-law Altaf Fantoosh was said to be the one in charge of party operations to a good extent. Tehreek-e-Hurriyat knows what to do after my death. Geelani is not keeping well for the past several years.

While Hurriyat insiders stated that Geelani resigned citing health concerns, sources said that the ailing separatist was under tremendous pressure after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) tightened the noose around his family members.

The All Parties Hurriyat Conference split up in 2002.

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