After three decades, separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has exited from All Party Hurriyat Conference. He has been the face of Kashmir's separatist politics for over 30 years. Being a part of the forum since 1993, he has blamed the "present situation" for his resignation.
Before being the face of separatist politics in Kashmir, Geelani was a member of Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir and he went on to form his own party called Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.
Geelani was appointed lifetime chairman of his faction in 2003. Hurriyat Conference was formed as a united political platform of the separatist parties in Kashmir.
Though no specific reasons have been cited by Geelani for the step he has taken but he said there have been certain issues that have forced him to resign. It is now being believed that 90-year-old Geelani had started losing favour with groups based in Pakistan and since Article 370 came into being, he had started facing rebellion within his own organisation.
Geelani shares audio message regarding resignation
In an audio message that he shared on Monday morning regarding his resignation, he said that he has sent out a detailed letter to all constituents of the forum and announced that he is completely 'disassociated' from the forum henceforth.
Geelani has not been keeping well for some time and for the last four years he was mostly at his home in Srinagar under house arrest however, in order to maintain law and order in Kashmir, he was detained often by the authorities.
The special status for Jammu and Kashmir ended in August last year under Article 370 and it was divided into two union territories and this move assumes major significance for separatist politics in Jammu and Kashmir.
He clearly stated that he is distancing himself from the Hurriyat Conference.
Another reason cited by Geelani was "rebellion against the leadership" by cadres.
He wrote a detailed letter to the members of the Hurriyat Conference, in which he stated that he will not be accountable for the future conduct of the forum.
After the Hurriyat Conference was formed, a decade later, it got divided into two parts and the hardline group was headed by Geelani.
The media has cited this as a significant development for Kashmir. A news agency also stated that Geelani is understood to have realised his folly of supporting India's neighbour Pakistan, which aided in pumping drugs and weapons into India.
Some even called him the 'hartal' man as on some pretext or the other he was known to call for strike or hartal in Kashmir.