A week after the death of Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, his close aide Masarat Alam Bhat has been named the chairman of the hardliner group All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC). Shabir Ahmad Shah and Ghulam Ahmad Gulzar, both, elected as vice-chairmen of the group. Bhat and Shah are both currently lodged in jail.
Geelani had formed the hardliner organisation and was his lifetime chairman but they had not announced a new head until after his death on 1st September, 2021.
However, Times Group’s Economic Times on Wednesday referred to the hardliners and separatist leaders as ‘pro-freedom’ leaders.
In an article titled “APHC: Masarat Alam Bhat is Geelani’s successor’ written by Hakeem Irfan Rashid, a correspondent with Economic Times, he refers to the separatist leaders, who are currently lodged in jail as ‘pro-freedom’ leaders. The Kashmiri separatist leaders, with support from Pakistan have been carrying out terror activities in the valley in name of ‘freedom’.
50 year old Bhat is a leader of the Muslim League and has been in Tihar Jail in Delhi since June 2019 in a terror funding case being investigated by the National Investigation Agency (NIA). He was arrested in October 2010 and has been mostly been in jail since then. He has 27 FIRs against him and has been booked under the public safety act (PSA) at least 36 times.