All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has elected Masarat Alam Bhat as the chairman days after the death of veteran Kashmiri resistance leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani.
Syed Ali Geelani, the 92-year-old leader, passed away on September 1 at his residence where the Indian government had detained him for the better part of the last decade.
Ali Geelani was named chairman of the APHC for life, But Geelani resigned last year over differences with the constituent parties, APHC, an alliance of several parties that has led political resistance against Indian rule since the early 90s, however, had not named anyone to replace Syed Ali Geelani.
According to the details, Masarat Alam Bhat succeeds Syed Ali Geelani, while Shabir Ahmad Shah, another jailed leader once hailed as the “Nelson Mandela of Kashmir,” has been made the new vice chairman of the alliance.
Shabir Ahmad Shah has spent a total of 33 years in Indian prisons intermittently since the 80s, At present, the Indian government has jailed most top leaders of APHC and recent media reports suggest the group might be banned, just as other political and religious organisations that have been banned since 2019.
The Masarat Alam Bhat who is 51-year-old like his predecessor, is an uncompromising proponent of Kashmir’s freedom and has been under detention for some 25 years, According to some lawyers the longest preventive custody in Asia.
The Public Safety Act (PSA), which authorises the government to detain a person without bail for up to 6 months, has been repeatedly used against Masarat Alam Bhat, The grounds for detention have sometimes been contradictory.
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