Srinagar: Syed Ali Shah Geelani passed away at 10:30 pm at his Srinagar residence.
Geelani was a stalwart leader of the Hurriyat Conference and was unwell since some time.
He was previously a member of the Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir but later on founded Tehreek-e-Hurriyat. He has served as the chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, a conglomerate of pro-resistance parties in Jammu and Kashmir.
Geelani was suffering from multiple ailments. According to the doctors treating him, he has undergone major surgeries for his heart and kidney conditions in the past. In the last few years, his weak lungs prevented him from venturing outside after winter set in. But today he lost his life around 10;35 pm, sources said.
Ninety two-year-old Geelani was an ideologue and a proponent of the merger of J&K with Pakistan. Geelani, who joined the socio-religious Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) as a young boy, contested Assembly elections from his native Sopore in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district in the 1970s. However, describing the Assembly elections of 1987 as “rigged”, he founded a separatist movement in the 1990s and his ideas influenced both the people on the streets and the fast-growing militant cadre.
Geelani emerged as a hawk even among the separatists. He trashed all back-channel and Track II talks between New Delhi and Srinagar, and Delhi and Islamabad. He decided to split the Hurriyat in 2003 after accusing some of its constituents of fielding proxy candidates in the Assembly elections. The other Hurriyat faction is headed by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. He also disapproved of the moderate Hurriyat’s attempt to engage New Delhi. He was the only voice within the separatist spectrum that had opposed then Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf’s four-point formula on Kashmir. He also refused to meet an all-party delegation from Delhi in 2016 and shut his doors on its members under the glare of media cameras. (KDC)