Kashmiri Freedom Leader Buried In Night-time Funeral

Kashmiri freedom leader buried in night-time funeral

Srinagar, India, Sept 2 (UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 2nd Sep, 2021 ) :Kashmiri freedom leader Syed Ali Geelani was buried in a tightly controlled pre-dawn ceremony Thursday as Indian authorities imposed a lockdown across the disputed Himalayan region.

The uncompromising campaigner against Indian rule in Kashmir died late Wednesday at the age of 92 following a long illness.

Wary of his influence across the Kashmir Valley, security forces were deployed soon after, mobile internet and phones were cut and residents were told to stay in their homes.

Geelani's family said they were not allowed to attend the burial at 4:30 am at a cemetery near his home in the main city of Srinagar.

Geelani, who had spent much of the last five decades in jail or under house arrest, had wanted to be buried at the Martyrs Cemetery in Srinagar along with other Kashmiri freedom fighters. But authorities rejected the request, the police source said.

"At about 3:00 am, police barged inside our home and took our father's body," one of his sons, Naseem Geelani, told AFP.

"We insisted that we would perform his funeral after morning prayers and bury him according to his wish at the Martyrs Cemetery.

" Police officers "snatched my father's body and did not allow anyone from our family to participate in the burial", the son added.

"We heard later that police undertook washing rituals for my father's body and had him buried." The police source acknowledged that security forces "took control of the arrangements".

The official said the family were given choices but did not respond. He said two sons were present but did not name them.

Residents said authorities feared that any mass mourning could turn into unrest.

"Troops are everywhere, there are barbed wire blockades on every main road," said one.

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was among the first to pay tribute to Geelani, who had been under house arrest for most of the past 11 years and been ill for several months with heart and kidney problems.

Khan said Geelani had "struggled all his life for his people and their right to self-determination. He suffered incarceration and torture by the occupying Indian state but remained resolute."He declared a day of national mourning in Pakistan.