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Geelani to head breakaway Hurriyat faction

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
Last updated on: September 15, 2003 18:51 IST
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The breakaway faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference on Monday elected firebrand separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani as its chairman.

Acting convener of the interim committee and chairman of the Muslim League, Massarat Alam, told a news conference
that 15 out of 23 general council members voted for Geelani.

Earlier in the day, Geelani and Peoples' Conference leader Bilal Lone were put under house arrest. Fearing trouble at the Rajbagh headquarters' of the APHC, the state government deployed police around their residences.

Security was also tightened at the APHC headquarters, where the other faction led by Maulvi Abbas Ansari faction met.

"It is not a bed of roses, but a crown of thorns," Geelani told newsmen at his residence. "I will prove myself true to the great sacrifices made by the Kashmiris. They have sacrificed everything for the movement," he said.

Geelani said a majority of general council members had moved "a no-confidence motion against Ansari which was carried and an interim committee headed by Massarat Alam was formed last week. The committee contacted other Huriyat constituents also."

He said the Huriyat Conference during last year's assembly election had busied itself in talks with Ram Jethmalani instead of  "going to the people and telling them to boycott elections. Their performance was disappointing."

Geelani said he will "continue to fight for the right of self determination through peaceful means."

Geelani was expelled from the APHC after he pressed for the expulsion of the Peoples Conference founded by slain separatist leader Abdul Gani Lone.

More reports from Jammu and Kashmir

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
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