Veteran Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Geelani was laid to rest in the early hours of Thursday morning after a tightly controlled burial managed by the Indian government in Srinagar.
Geelani, known for his uncompromising positions against Indian rule in occupied Kashmir, died on Wednesday at the age of 92 following a prolonged illness. It is said that he was suffering from heart and kidney problems.
Announcements of his passing were made from the main mosque near Geelani’s residence. People were asked to march towards the house. Fearing unrest, the Indian authorities deployed thousands of police personnel to secure the area soon after news of his death broke. It is believed that authorities feared a mass mourning event might turn into unrest. Soldiers and barbed wire blockades were seen on nearly all main roads in Srinagar.
Only his closest relatives, including his sons, were present at the time of the burial.
It was Geelani’s wish to be buried at the Martyrs Cemetery in Srinagar, but authorities rejected that request, police sources told newsmen.
“We basically took control of the arrangements,” an official said.
Meanwhile, Geelani’s special representative Abdullah Geelani claims that the family does not know where the veteran Kashmiri leader has been buried. “The Indian Army has seized Geelani’s body,” he said. “We don’t know where he has been laid to rest.”
He claimed that Geelani’s family was tortured by Indian forces, adding that the Kashmiri leader should have been buried at the Martyrs Cemetery.
National Day of Mourning in Pakistan
In a tweet, PM Imran Khan paid tributes to Geelani, saying he was “deeply saddened” at the death of the “Kashmiri freedom fighter.” Khan said that 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.