J& K lifts curbs on sep­a­ratist lead­er­ship

Gee­lani at Fri­day prayer af­ter 8 yrs

The Asian Age - - Front Page - YUSUF JAMEEL

The au­thor­i­ties in Jammu and Kash­mir lifted re­stric­tions on top sep­a­ratists, in­clud­ing Syed Ali Shah Gee­lani, and for the first time since 2010 the oc­to­ge­nar­ian leader joined weekly con­gre­ga­tional prayers in a mosque in Sri­na­gar on Fri­day.

Soon af­ter his re­lease from house ar­rest, Mr Gee­lani, the 88- year- old sep­a­ratist pa­tri­arch, who con­tin­ues to loom large over the Val­ley’s po­lit­i­cal land­scape even af­ter nam­ing his con­fi­dante Muham­mad Ashraf Sehrai as his suc­ces­sor, walked to a mosque near his home in Sri­na­gar’s Hy­der­pora area.

He was ac­com­pa­nies by Mr Sehrai, other aides and prom­i­nent ac­tivists of the Tehrik- eHur­riyat ( TeH), the dom­i­nant con­stituent of the Hur­riyat Con­fer­ence fac­tion led by Mr Gee­lani.

Mr Gee­lani had an­nounced on March 19 that Mr Sehrai has re­placed him as the chief of the TeH launched in 2004 af­ter the duo had reached an “agree­ment” with their par­ent or­gan­i­sa­tion, Ja­maat- e- Is­lami.

Sources in the TeH had said that Mr Gee­lani de­cided to step down as its chief due to his fall­ing health. Mr Gee­lani, known as a hard nut to crack among the sep­a­ratists, has been un­der house ar­rest for the past eight years.

The au­thor­i­ties in Jammu and Kash­mir have lifted re­stric­tions on top sep­a­ratists, in­clud­ing Syed Ali Shah Gee­lani, and it was for the first time since 2010 that the oc­to­ge­nar­ian leader could join weekly con­gre­ga­tional prayers in a mosque in Sri­na­gar on Fri­day.

Soon af­ter loos­en­ing house ar­rest against him, Mr Gee­lani, the 88- yearold sep­a­ratist pa­tri­arch who con­tin­ues to loom large over the Val­ley’s po­lit­i­cal land­scape, walked to a mosque near his home in Sri­na­gar’s Hy­der­pora area.

He was be­ing ac­com­pa­nies by Sehrai and other aides and prom­i­nent ac­tivists of the Tehrik- eHur­riyat ( TeH), the dom­i­nant con­stituent of the Hur­riyat Con­fer­ence fac­tion led by him ( Gee­lani).

Mr Gee­lani had in a sig­nif­i­cant devel­op­ment on Kash­mir’s sep­a­ratist po­lit­i­cal arena an­nounced on March 19 that Sehrai has re­placed him as the chief of the TeH launched in 2004 af­ter the duo had reached an “agree­ment” with their par­ent or­gan­i­sa­tion Ja­maat- e- Is­lami. Sources in the TeH had said that Gee­lani de­cided to step down as its chief due to his fall­ing health. But he con­tin­ues to head his fac­tion of Hur­riyat Con­fer­ence which is an amal­gam of sep­a­ratist par­ties.

Mr Gee­lani, widely known as a hard nut to crack among the sep­a­ratist, had been un­der house ar­rest for the past eight years. He would dur­ing this pe­riod, how­ever, be al­lowed to visit hos­pi­tals in Sri­na­gar or travel to Delhi for re­ceiv­ing spe­cialised treat­ment to his mul­ti­ple ail­ments. But it is for the first time in these years that he could walk to a mosque in Sri­na­gar to join con­gre­ga­tional prayers on Fri­day.

Wit­nesses said that the po­lice had to burst a few tear­gas can­is­ters when a huge crowd be­gan chant­ing pro- free­dom and proPak­istan slo­gans as Gee­lani walked out of Jama Masjid Hy­der­pora af­ter of­fer­ing prayers. A po­lice of­fi­cer who was part of a con­tin­gent de­ployed in the area as part of se­cu­rity ban­dobast said that “mild force” was used as a sec­tion of the crowd turned vi­o­lent and hurled rocks at the se­cu­rity per­son­nel amid chant­ing “we want free­dom”, “Go In­dia, go back”, “Teri jaan, meri jaan Pak­istan” and “Jeve, Jeve Pak­istan”. A wit­ness said that slo­gans in praise of mil­i­tant com­man­der Zakir Musa were also raised.

This devel­op­ment comes a day af­ter J& K’s di­rec­tor gen­eral of po­lice Shesh Paul Vaid an­nounced that Mr Gee­lani and two other top sep­a­ratist lead­ers — Mir­waiz Umar Fa­rooq and Muham­mad Yasin Ma­lik — were now free to go any­where they wish to. He, how­ever, sought to add a rider to it say­ing the trio should not make any “anti- na­tional” speeches or try to cre­ate a law and or­der prob­lem.

The trio is part of a al­liance called “Joint Re­sis­tance Lead­er­ship ( JRL)” which has been call­ing shots in Kash­mir for the past cou­ple of years and was in com­mand dur­ing the un­rest trig­gered by the killing of Burhan Wani, the young mil­i­tant com­man­der who be­came an icon of the Val­ley’s bel­liger­ent youth.

Like Mr Gee­lani, the Mir­waiz and Ma­lik have faced sim­i­lar curbs for close to two years and were of­ten barred from re­lo­cat­ing to places to make po­lit­i­cal speeches. The Mir­waiz who is the chief Mus­lim cleric of Kash­mir was not al­lowed to de­liver cus­tom­ary pre­na­maz ser­mon from the ros­trum of Sri­na­gar’s his­toric Grand Mosque on many Fri­days.

— PTI

A Chris­tian devo­tee reen­acts the cru­ci­fix­ion of Je­sus Christ dur­ing Good Fri­day in Hy­der­abad on Fri­day.

H. U. NAQASH

Hur­riyat Con­fer­ence chair­man Syed Ali Gee­lani of­fered con­gre­ga­tional Fri­day prayers at the Jamia Masjid Hy­der­pora for the first time af­ter 2010 on Fri­day. —

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.