The top separatist leader buried quietly at a cemetery located near his residence in Srinagar's Hyderpora area at around 3.30 am on Thursday
SRINAGAR: Authorities cracked down on public movement and imposed a near-total communications blackout Thursday in disputed Kashmir after the death of Syed Ali Geelani, a top separatist leader who became the emblem of the region’s defiance against New Delhi.
Geelani, who died late Wednesday at age 92, was buried in a quiet funeral organized by authorities under harsh restrictions, his son Naseem Geelani told The Associated Press. He said the family had planned the burial at the main martyrs’ graveyard in Srinagar, the region’s main city, as per his will but were disallowed by police.
“They snatched his body and forcibly buried him. Nobody from the family was present for his burial. We tried to resist but they overpowered us and even scuffled with women,” said Naseem Geelani.
The Press Trust of India news agency reported that officials buried Geelani’s body and disallowed any mass funeral in anticipation of anti-India protests.
Geelani spearheaded Kashmir’s movement for the right to self-determination and was an ideologue and staunch proponent of merging Kashmir with Pakistan. He strongly opposed any dialogue with New Delhi, a position rejected outright by successive Indian governments who often dubbed him as a hardline politician.
Geelani was also the face of Kashmir’s civilian defiance against Indian rule. He led a faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, a conglomerate of various Kashmiri political and religious groups that was formed in 1993 to spearhead a movement for the region’s right to self-determination.
The group used civil disobedience in the form of shutdowns and protests as a tactic to counter Indian rule.