‘Betterment of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat on Agenda’
SRINAGAR: Concerned about the organisational functioning, ailing Hurriyat Conference chief Syed Ali Geelani has called a meeting of his party leaders on Saturday, well placed sources said.
88-year-old Geelani, sources said, has invited members of advisory council to his Hyderpora residence-cum-office in the forenoon to discuss the party matters of 2004 born Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH).
“It will be a serious meeting regarding the party affairs,” one insider asserted.
Geelani, after parting ways from Jama’at-e-Islami way back in 2004, formed TeH along with his life-time associate Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai. The party, seeking to establish an Islamic state after “freedom from India” and unity among the ranks of Muslim Ummah, has a cadre of over 1000 members.
“It will be a major exercise to restructure the TeH for its betterment,” one senior resistance leader affiliated to the TeH revealed to the Kashmir Reader.
Sehrai, who comes from Lolab valley of Kupwara district has been the Secretary General of the party and has been working alongside Geelani since his days in Jama’at.
It was in May 2016 that there was hectic activity going on in the party that Sehrai may take over it after elections were due in August. However, after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed on July 8, Sehrai – in his capacity as the secretary general – issued a notice extending the three year term of Geelani as chairman for next six months. In February this year, Sehrai moved another resolution in advisory council meet of TeH calling for extension of Geelani’s term for one more year. It was accepted and Geelani continues to be chairman of the party.
“We could not hold elections that time as our party cadre was behind bars,” the TeH leader said. “Over 300 of our basic member s were detained during and after 2016 public uprising and almost all of our district chiefs are currently in jails.”
“Today as well,” he said, “out of 22 members of advisory council, many are in jails. But meeting has to take place given its importance after some conversation took place between Geelani sahab and Sehrai sahab.”
After seeking details from various sources, one TeH leader said, “Sehrai has shot a letter to Hyderpora headquarter expressing his serious concern over almost non-functioning of TeH.”
Sehrai lives in Baghat area of uptown Srinagar and has been mostly restricted to his home by the government. “Sehrai has detailed many aspects of crisis TeH is facing and Geelani has called the meet to discuss the issues raised by the party Secretary General.”
“There are concerns from various quarters that party is not working the way it should,” one leader said. “There is no one in Hyderpora office since arrests made by the (National Investigating) Agency,” he added.
He said that Sehrai was not able to attend office in past because he was put under house detention. “And whenever he reached Hyderpora, police did not allow him to enter the office premises.”
“The advisory council will discuss as to how the things could be set right and the party strengthened,” the leader said.
“There has been communication log-jam between Geelani and Sehrai as the life-long partners in Kashmir movement have not been able to meet for long and there has either been communication through letters or reliable emissaries,” one party leader conceded. “Saturday meet is crucial,” another member quipped.
Out of eleven persons arrested by the NIA in alleged funding case, four pro-freedom leaders including Peer Saifullah, Mehraj-ud-Din Kalwal, Altaf Ahmad Shah and Ayaz Akbar are basic members of TeH who held various positions in Hurriyat Conference as well.