This Turns out to be a bug fixed upstream ( gnome #462031 ). "grepping" the code reveals a rather trivial fix, and on further lookup a part of Fedora9 build. I ended up filing a bug-report ( fedora #430883 ).
A package was released with the stated fix, which crashes xchat-gnome when one tries to set/unset away.
(xchat-gnome:9519): GLib-GObject-WARNING **: invalid uninstantiatable type
`(null)' in cast to `GtkToggleButton'
(xchat-gnome:9519): Gtk-CRITICAL **: gtk_toggle_button_get_active: assertion `GTK_IS_TOGGLE_BUTTON (toggle_button)' failed
On lookup, turn out to be issue with variable naming. Baaad mojo.
gboolean away = gtk_toggle_button_get_active (GTK_TOGGLE_BUTTON(away));Went head, cleaned up the patch and submitted the same. Now, i live in Peace.