Kashmiri Separatist Leader & Hurriyat Founder Syed Ali Shah Geelani Passes Away

Geelani was buried early morning on Thursday at around 4.45 am in a local graveyard in Srinagar's Hyderpora.

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Kashmiri Separatist Leader & Hurriyat Founder Syed Ali Shah Geelani Passes Away

Veteran Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani passed away at his residence in Srinagar late on the evening of Wednesday, 1 September. He was 92.

Sources said that the ailing leader developed serious complications on Wednesday afternoon and breathed his last in the evening.

“He had chest congestion and breathing problems. He passed away at 10:30 pm,” they said.

Geelani's supporters wanted to bury him in the martyrs' cemetery in Srinagar's old city. However, he was buried early morning on Thursday at around 4:45 am in a local graveyard in Srinagar's Hyderpora. Only close relatives and neighbours were allowed to visit, while the rest of the graveyard was sealed.

Journalists, too, were prevented from covering the funeral and stopped from going to Hyderpora, Hindustan Times reported.

Geelani was the senior-most separatist leader in the Valley, known for his hardline views and had been largely under house arrest since the summer agitation of 2010.


Some Background

Born in 1929, Geelani was an elected member of the J&K legislative assembly, representing the Sopore constituency in north Kashmir in 1972, 1977 and 1987.

He was a member of the Jamaat-e-Islami and had led the separatist movement in Kashmir Valley since the 1990s, and was a lifelong chairman of the Hurriyat.

However, almost seventeen years after he floated the amalgam, Geelani resigned from the All Party Hurriyat Conference in June 2020.

Calling Geelani a 'Kashmiri freedom fighter', Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said in a tweet, "We in Pakistan salute his courageous struggle and remember his words: 'Hum Pakistani hain aur Pakistan hamara hai.'"

Khan announced that the Pakistan flag will fly at half mast and that a day of official mourning will be observed.

Former Chief Minister and People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti also condoled Geelani's passing away and said in a tweet, "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."

Restrictions Imposed in the Valley

Restrictions were imposed across the Valley in light of his passing, in order to control the law and order situation.

This included suspension of internet services. Security was strengthened outside Geelani's house in Hyderpora, NDTV reported.

Meanwhile, some senior members of Hurriyat were detained, and senior Hurriyat leader Mukhtar Ahmad Waza was arrested from his residence in South Kashmir's Anantnag town.

All markets, public transport, other businesses, and educational institutions were closed in the Valley, while more police and paramilitary forces were deployed.

(With inputs from IANS, NDTV, and Hindustan Times)

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