Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani dies; restrictions imposed, internet suspended

Syed Ali Shah Geelani, an avowed pro-Pakistani supporter who led the separatist movement in Jammu and Kashmir for more than three decades, died at his residence on Wednesday evening.

Geelani, 91, is survived by two sons and six daughters. He remarried after the death of his first wife in 1968. The separatist leader had suffered from kidney disease for more than two decades, in addition to having other age-related problems, including dementia.

Mobile internet was closed in the Kashmir Valley as a precaution to avoid confusion due to the spread of rumors. A three-time MP for the former state of Sopore, Geelani had practically become the face of the turmoil in the 2008 Amarnath land dispute, the 2010 turmoil sparked by the murder of a youth in Srinagar.

He was the founding member of the Hurriyat Conference but broke up and formed his own Tehreek-e-Huriyat in early 2000. He finally bid farewell to his own Hurriyat Conference in June 2020.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his condolences for Geelani’s death on his official Twitter account.

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted that she was saddened by the news of her death. “We may not agree on most things, but I respect him for his tenacity and his faith …”, said the President of the People’s Conference (PC), Sajad Lone, “Sincere condolences to the family of Syed Ali Shah Geelani Sahib. esteemed colleague of my late father. May Allah grant him Jannat. ” Geelani would be buried at the location of his choice in the Hyderpora district on the outskirts of the city.

His passport was seized in 1981 and was never returned, with some exceptions in 2006 to enable him to make the Hajj pilgrimage.

There were several cases pending against him in the Directorate of Enforcement, the Police and the Income Tax Service.

Slogans and pro-Geelani messages announcing his death were broadcast over loudspeakers from mosques in the Kashmir Valley.

Police said curfew-like restrictions had been imposed on Kashmir as a precaution. A heavy police bandoblast was seen around Geelani’s residence and the roads leading to it were closed with no one allowed to go there. Kashmir Zonal Police Inspector General (IGP) Vijay Kumar told ANI news agency on Wednesday that restrictions had been imposed in the valley, including the suspension of internet services. “Restrictions imposed, including the suspension of internet services in the valley,” IGP Kashmir said.

(With inputs from PTI and ANI)

Posted on: Thursday, September 02, 2021, 9:00 a.m. IST

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