SRINAGAR: Amid murmurs of an impending ban on both factions of the secessionist Hurriyat Conference, ailing patriarch Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s kin appeared to shield themselves from the administration’s glare by hurriedly removing a Tehreek-e-Hurriyat signboard from the three-storey annexe of their palatial family residence in Srinagar’s Hyderpora neighbourhood.
The move contrasted with the Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led Hurriyat faction’s defiance in the face of a crackdown on an alleged racket involving “sale” of medical and engineering seats in Pakistan to Kashmiri students and funnelling the proceeds into secessionist activities in J&K. The Mirwaiz, who is under house arrest, said on Monday that his organisation had been transparently sending Kashmiri students to study medicine or engineering not only to Pakistan but also Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and Turkey.
“The propaganda is completely unfounded, and can be verified by those students or parents whom we have recommended for admission, many among them being from the economically weaker sections,” he said.
While both Hurriyat factions had shut their Raj Bagh offices after the nullification of Article 370 in August 2019, the Mirwaiz-led Awami Action Committee reopened its premises in February 2020. The Mirwaiz faction’s self-owned property in one of Srinagar’s tony residential neighbourhoods was allegedly procured in 2000 through hawala channels. A total of 26 secessionist groups operating under the umbrella of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference used to have offices in Raj Bagh until the events of August 2019. Since then, the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat’s official address has been the annexe of Geelani’s residence.
Sources said the signboard of the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat’s and Mili Trust, formed by Geelani, were removed on Sunday evening at the behest of his doctor son Nayeem. This was almost immediately after news spread of the Centre possibly planning to clamp a ban on a clutch of separatist overground organisations under Section 3(1) the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The Hurriyat came into existence in 1993 with 26 groups. Among the Hurriyat constituents, the Centre banned the Jamaat-e-Islami and JKLF under the UAPA in 2019.
Amid ban murmurs, Geelani home drops Hurriyat board – Times of India