Syed Geelani buried in Srinagar; curbs imposed across Kashmir
Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a longtime Kashmiri separatist leader, was buried at a graveyard near his residence in Srinagar's Hyderpora area around 4:30 am on Thursday. Geelani, the most prominent face of the separatist movement for over three decades, had died at his home around 10:30 pm on Wednesday. The Kashmir Police has imposed various restrictions across the Valley in view of his demise.
Geelani, who died at the age of 91, had been ailing and was mostly confined to his home during the last decade. He suffered from a kidney disease and other age-related conditions, including dementia. "With shock and grief, we inform (you) that the father of revolution Syed Ali Geelani passed away tonight," tweeted Geelani's Pakistan-based representative Abdullah Gilani.
Inspector general (Kashmir) Vijay Kumar announced restrictions across the Valley late last night. Strict security arrangements have been made outside Geelani's house in Hyderpora and internet services were suspended. Meanwhile, some separatist leaders have been detained. Hurriyat leader Mukhtar Ahmed Waza was arrested from his residence in Anantnag, NDTV reported. In fact, only family members and neighbors were allowed at Geelani's funeral.
Geelani was born on September 29, 1929 in a village in Bandipore. Earlier a school teacher, he began his political career under the tutelage of Maulana Mohammad Sayeed Masood of National Conference (NC). However, he moved to Jamat-e-Islami soon after. He was thrice elected as an MLA from the Sopore constituency in the erstwhile state, in 1972, 1977, and 1987.
Geelani was one of the seven executive members of the Hurriyat Conference upon its formation in 1993. However, the group was split in 2003 due to a discord between him and his colleagues. In 2004, he also left the Jamat-e-Islami and formed his own political outfit called Tehreek-e-Hurriyat. Just last year, he had announced his decision to quit politics and his Hurriyat faction.
Geelani was a pro-Pakistan separatist, meaning he supported the cause for Kashmir's merger with that country. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan called him a "Kashmiri freedom fighter...who struggled all his life for his people and their right to self determination." He tweeted that Pakistan will officially observe a day of mourning. Kashmiri leaders Mehbooba Mufti and Sajad Lone also mourned his death.
Saddened by the news of Geelani sahab’s passing away. We may not have agreed on most things but I respect him for his steadfastness standing by his beliefs. May Allah Ta’aala grant him jannat condolences to his family well wishers.— Mehbooba Mufti (@MehboobaMufti) September 1, 2021