In a dramatic turn of events, All-Parties Hurriyat Conference on Sunday suffered a split after 12 constituents of the separatist conglomerate expelled its recently elected chairman and senior Shia leader Moulvi Abbas Ansari.
Several members of the conglomerate's general council met in Srinagar at the Hyderpora residence of Jamaat-e-Islami leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani in the morning and suspended the seven-member executive committee of the amalgam.
They constituted a five-member interim committee headed by Muslim League chairman Massarat Alam to steer the Hurriyat. The panel has been asked to contact senior separatist leader Geelani, who was recently expelled from the Hurriyat executive, to 'lead the separatist group'.
The other members of the committee are senior Shia leader Agha Syed Badgami, Dr Ghulam Mohammad Hubbi (of the Peoples Conference), Ghulam Nabi Sumji and Firdaus Ahmad Shah.
The meet also decided to expel the moderate Peoples Conference (PC) headed by Bilal Ahmad Lone, son of slain separatist leader Abdul Gani Lone, and the Muslim Conference headed by former Hurriyat chairman Prof Abdul Gani Bhat.
The expulsion of the PC has been a long-standing demand of Geelani, who alleges that the party had fielded dummy candidates in last year's assembly polls.
Today's developments have formalised the differences among the hawks and doves in the separatist conglomerate. The split is expected to deal a blow to the peace initiatives of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as Geelani has never supported them.
However, Hurriyat chairman Maulvi Abbas Ansari seemed unfazed saying, "No one has the power to expel me. Members of the executive committee elected me. They are expected to meet on Monday and take action against members of the general council (responsible for today's actions)."
Those present at Sunday's meeting included Sumjhi (Muslim Conference), Hubbi (Peoples Conference), Geelani (Jamaat), Budgami (Anjuman-e-shar-e-shian), Nayeem Khan (National Front), Yasmeen Raja (Muslim Khawateen Markaz), Fareeda Behenji (Kashmir Mass Movement), Ghulam Mohammad Khan Sopuri (People's League - Rehmani), Alam (Muslim League), Firdous Ahmad Shah (Democratic Political Movement), G Q Hagroo (People's League), G Amir (Jammu Freedom Movement) and Tantray (Jammu Freedom Movement).
With inputs from PTI