SRINAGAR: Prominent Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Geelani has quit as the political head All-Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) in Indian-occupied Kashmir.
In his resignation letter, the ailing 91-year-old released a letter accusing some Hurriyat Conference leaders of “revolting against his leadership”. He rejected speculations that he had resigned because of pressure from the Indian government or his ill health.
“I completely distance myself from the leadership of Hurriyat Conference in view of its present situation. All constituents of the forum have been informed about my decision through a detailed letter,” he said, adding that he would continue to “lead his people” against India.
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Geelani said he was unable to reach other leaders of the group to discuss his decision. “Despite my ill health and continued restrictions, I tried to approach you through various ways but none of you were available. Now that you feel that you will be held accountable for the misappropriation of funds, you openly revolted against the leadership,” Mr Geelani said in his letter.
According to Indian media, Geelani has named Abdullah Geelani as his successor who confirmed the development but refused to speak about the reasons or provide further details.
Syed Ali Geelani has been a central figure in political protests against Indian occupation in Kashmir for decades and has been a member of the Hurriyat since its formation in 1993.
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He was a legislator for over fifteen years before resigning in 1989 to join anti-India protests. He played a prominent role in bringing several political and religious groups under the banner of All Parties Hurriyat Conference in 1993.
He was elected chairman for life in 2003 of his own faction of the Hurriyat Conference. Another faction is led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who remains under house detention since August 5 last year.
Geelani is known for his strong opposition to holding any kind of dialogue with India and has demanded a plebiscite to determine the Kashmiris right to self-determination before any talks can take place.