Jamat-e-Islami Meeting Sidelines Geelani
29 August 2000
The Times of India
Srinagar: The four-day marathon meeting of the Majlis-e-Shoora (apex body) of the Jamat-e-Islami, which concluded here on Tuesday afternoon, virtually clipped the wings of former All-Party Hurriyat Conference (APHC) chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who represents the Jamat in the APHC, a conglomeration of 23 separatist organisations. The Shoora also reorganised the executive committee and the political bureau of the Jamat. Geelani and Jamat president Ghulam Mohammad Bhat have had sharp differences on the issue of the Jamat''s stand on the Hizbul Mujahideen''s ceasefire declaration and its subsequent withdrawal. Geelani had openly criticised the Jamat chief. Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai, a staunch Jamat activist, has been appointed deputy chief, a new post created on Tuesday. Sheikh Ghulam Rasool was made secretary-general of the Jamat. In a significant decision, which was basically aimed at clipping the wings of Geelani, the Jamat appointed Ghulam Qadar Lone as its political bureau chief. In that capacity, he would represent the Jamat in the Hurriyat. But according to Bhat, Geelani or Lone might attend the Hurriyat meetings. Even Sehari could represent the Jamat in the APHC, he indicated. So far, only Geelani used to represent the Jamat in the Hurriyat. Bhat told The Times of India News Service here that the Jamat would function under his leadership and according to its discipline and code of conduct. He admitted differences with Geelani but added that these had cropped up ''due to some misunderstanding'' and were now over. Geelani had left the meeting on Monday and gone back to his residence along with another Jamat leader. However, Bhat said Geelani did not walk out but had some work at his residence for which he had gone and returned later. The meeting was resumed on Tuesday morning and continued till the evening. According to Bhat, the proceedings went on smoothly and the issue of expulsion of Geelani was not raised. He regretted that the media had ''created sensational news'' about Geelani''s expulsion and about cracks in the Jamat. Bhat said there was no change in the role and attitude of the Jamat in the current atmosphere in the state and added that the organisation would continue to play its role in the state.