Former Hurriyat chairman and prominent Shia leader passes away

SRINAGAR, Oct 25: Former Hurriyat chairman and a prominent Shia scholar of Kashmir Molana Abbas Ansari, 86, passed away after a prolonged illness on Tuesday, family sources said.
Ansari, who was also the founder of Ittihadul Muslimeen, an organisation that advocated unity between Shia and Sunni Muslims, passed away at his residence in Srinagar, they said.
Ansari was a moderate separatist voice and advocated peaceful settlement of Kashmir issue.
In 2004, when Ansari was the chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, he led the five member delegation who held a first-ever meeting with the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The group also held several discussions with the then deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani.
Ansari was also a part of the group of Kashmir separatist leaders that travelled to Pakistan, through Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service. It was during Ansari’s tenure that Hurriyat split in two parts as Syed Ali Geelani formed his own faction.
Ansari was the last surviving politician from the Plebiscite Front era. He also served as convenor of the Muslim United Front (MUF)- a coalition of political parties that challenged the National Conference-Congress in the 1987 assembly polls. The alleged rigging in 1987 elections is widely believed to have triggered the armed violence in Kashmir.
Several political leaders condoled the death of Ansari. (Agencies)