Sehraie appointed interim chairman Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, Geelani announces
Srinagar: Mohammad Ashraf Khan, better known as Ashraf Sehraie, took over as interim chairman of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat (TeH) from his longtime friend and associate Syed Ali Geelani on Monday. He assumed office in presence of Geelani, who announced the decision in the Majlis-e-Shura, the highest decision-making body of the TeH.
Kashmir Reader has learnt that the change of guard in the TeH, one of the KEY constituents of the Hurriyat Conference (Geelani), was cleared by the Majlis-e-Shura in February. “Geelani sahib made an announcement today. The Shura had already decided it in February,” a senior TeH functionary told Kashmir Reader.
Sehraie, who comes from Kupwara district, has been the secretary-general of the TeH since it came into being and has been working alongside Geelani since 1959. The organisation holds elections for the chairman after every three years, but they could not be held on time after the 2016 uprising in Kashmir, hence Sehraie was appointed “as interim chairman till the party elections to be held later in the year”.
The 70-year-old is longtime friend and associate of Syed Ali Geelani
He considers Geelani as his ‘Rehbar’
The duo is together for last more than five decades since their association with Jamaat-e-Islami
Addressing the Shura, Geelani, according to a party statement, said that merely holding a position without making a practical contribution is “injustice” not only with the post but with the “conscience” as well. “So, today, I willfully step down from the chairmanship and advise the Shura to arrange an alternative at the earliest,” the statement quoted Geelani as saying.
Geelani extended his “fullest cooperation and “sincere wishes to the would-be leadership of the organisation”.
TeH was established when Geelani and Sehraie broke away from the Jamaat-e-Islami and founded this new politico-religious party in 2004. The TeH has since then maintained significant influence on Kashmir politics as Kashmir’s pro-freedom has always revolved around Geelani. The party’s main motive is establishing “Islam as a complete way of life”, followed by “freedom”.
“In the light of Islamic teachings, freedom means that people should get opportunities to spend life according to the will of Allah. No man should be enslaved by another man, whether they are of his own race, ethnicity, language, religion or creed. No one has the right to enslave the creation of Allah,” it explains on its website.
Sehraie’s assuming charge would not make any impact on the Hurriyat Conference (G) as it would continue to be headed by Geelani. The 88-year-old leader, who is under house detention since 2010, would also represent the amalgam in the Joint Resistance Leadership, a coalition established in the year 2016 with the JKLF’s Yasin Malik and the other Hurriyat Conference’s Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
Sehraie is considered as the shadow of Geelani. The duo has been together for more than five decades and Sehraie calls Geelani his “Rehbar” (leader). The above 70-year-old Sehraie has held vital positions in the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba and Jamaat-e-Islami. He has never thought of “competing” with Geelani.
“I have never tried to compete with him (Geelani). I cannot even think of competing with him. I am a shadow of Geelani right from 1959. I have never gone to my home with the intention of not coming back. He is my Rehbar (guide) and I am his follower,” he told an online portal in 2015.