Jamaat Quits Hurriyat, Won't Join Geelani Now
1 January 2004
The Indian Express
Srinagar: The new year began on a bad note for the Hurriyat Conference with the right-wing Jamaat-e-Islami formally announcing its decision to dissociate from the separatist amalgam. The move is being viewed as a serious setback for the moderates led by Hurriyat chief Maulana Abbas Ansari, who had earlier expressed willingness to hold talks with Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani. The power equation has now tilted in favour of the rival faction led by hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani. 'While completely dissociating from the Ansari-led Hurriyat, we have decided not to extend support to the rival faction led by Geelani for the time being,' said a statement released by the Jamaat. Earlier, Geelani had distanced himself from the Jamaat for not putting pressure on the then Hurriyat leadership to take action against the People's Conference for allegedly fielding proxy candidates during the last Assembly polls. Speaking to The Indian Express, Jamaat chief Nazir Ahmad Kashani said Ansari had been given a long time to initiate action against Sajjad Lone's PC. 'But when he took no action and gave a clean chit to that party, we decided to pull out,' he said. He added that the Jamaat would continue to work towards reunifying the two factions. On being appointed Hurriyat chairman, Ansari had declared that the PC had not participated in the polls, leading to a split in the conglomerate. Geelani left the organisation, floating his own group. The Jamaat had remained neutral, neither supporting Geelani nor attending any meeting of the Ansari-led Hurriyat. Meanwhile, addressing newspersons after a four- day marathon meeting of the Majlis-e-Shoora (advisory council), Jamaat spokesman Zahid Ali said his party had taken this step due to several differences. 'The manner in which Ansari was elected Hurriyat chairman in the absence of Jamaat is not acceptable to us,' he said.