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Mehbooba Mufti Government Sends a Feeler, Hurriyat Chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani's Eight-Year-Long House Arrest Ends

The octogenarian leader, Geelani, after offering congregational prayers at the Jamia Masjid Hyderpora on Friday for the first time after 2010, is expected to address the gathering post prayers.

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Updated:March 30, 2018, 6:22 PM IST
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Mehbooba Mufti Government Sends a Feeler, Hurriyat Chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani's Eight-Year-Long House Arrest Ends
Chairman of Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani addresses people after his release from house detention after eight years, in Srinagar on Friday. (PTI Photo)
Srinagar: Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani, who has been under house arrest for the last eight years, was allowed to walk free on Friday after the government ended his detention.

The octogenarian leader, Geelani, after offering congregational prayers at the Jamia Masjid Hyderpora on Friday for the first time after 2010, is expected to address the gathering post prayers.

The development comes a day after Jammu and Kashmir Director General of Police SP Vaid said that all three separatists leader — SAS Geelani, Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Yasin Malik — were free to go anywhere they wish to. He, however, said the trio should not make “anti-national” speeches or create a law and order problem.

“They have to take the responsibility of not creating any law and order situation. They have to also refrain from making anti-national speeches,” Vaid had said.

Recently, all three separatists were allowed to meet at Geelani’s residence where they discussed the current situation in the valley. Lately, the government has shown signs of easing curbs over the rebel leaders.

Many people in Kashmir believe that the Mehbooba Mufti-led government has softened her stand with regard to the release of separatist leaders and is willing to walk an extra mile to find peace in the valley.

The decision to lift curbs on the leaders comes at a time of serious political crisis as the state struggles to pacify the recent surge in anti-government feelings and the rise of local militancy. The move to allow separatists to walk freely can be seen as the government acknowledgement of the need to let Hurriyat leaders interact with people.

A Hurriyat leader said that New Delhi has somehow realized that the separatist leadership needs to interact with people and that the government has failed. “New Delhi has understood that they are failing and only Hurriyat is the true representative of the people of Kashmir,” he said.

Interestingly, the end of Geelani’s house detention has come a week after Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai replaced Syed Ali Geelani as interim chairman of Tehreek-i-Hurriyat Jammu and Kashmir. Sehrai’s ascension ended the strain in the Hurriyat on who will lead the conglomerate after Geelani, whose deteriorating health has been a cause of concern.

The last couple of days have seen a lot of events unfold in the Hurriyat camp. Earlier this week, son of Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai joined the Hizbul Mujahideen militant group in Kashmir. A photo of Junaid Ashraf Khan, 28, brandishing an AK-47 rifle had gone viral on social media. This is the first time that the son of a senior separatist leader of the stature of Sehrai has joined militancy in Kashmir.

Earlier, Dineshwar Sharma, the Indian government’s special representative for talks, had expressed his concern about the trend of local boys joining the ranks of guerrilla outfits.

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| Edited by: Aditya Nair
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