Alam seen as likely Geelani successor
Last year, when police, owing to a lapse, released Masarat Alam for few hours, among the first calls he got was from Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani. He asked the 43-year-old to take command of the Hurriyat.
An hour later, Alam was re-arrested.
A militant-turned-political leader, the science graudate is seen as the strongest contender for Geelani’s successor.
The Srinagar Old City resident who studied at the Valley’s leading missionary school, Tyndale Biscoe, Alam joined the separatist movement towards the early years of militancy, and rose to become the top commander of pro-Pakistan militant outfit Hezbollah.
In October 1990, he was arrested and kept imprisoned for 13 months. Two years later, he was again arrested and kept in jail for four years. After his release, he joined the Muslim League — a constituent of Geelani’s Hurriyat — and soon become its chairman.
In 2003, when the Hurriyat Conference split into moderates and hardliners, Alam joined the Geelani-led faction. Till 2007, he kept moving in and out of jail.
In 2008, Alam hit the limelight after he commanded thousands of protesting youths on the streets of Srinagar during the Amarnath land row agitation. He stayed behind bars for two years during which he was booked seven consecutive times under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
Soon after his release, Srinagar teenager Tufail Matoo was killed in action by security forces. The protests against the killing snowballed into massive unrest on the streets of the Valley, under the guidance of Alam.
Geelani was under arrest at the time and the moderate leadership kept quiet, leaving the field open for him.
Alam went underground but managed to coordinate the protests for several months. In October 2010, he was arrested again, and since then had been behind bars till Saturday, except for that brief break when Geelani’s call came.
Source:: Indian Express