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Hurriyat Founder & Separatist Leader Geelani Laid to Rest in Srinagar at Night Amid Heavy Security

PTI |
The three-time MLA from Sopore had quit Hurriyat in 2020. Mobile and internet connectivity by and large was snapped across Kashmir.
Hurriyat Founder & Separatist Leader Geelani Laid to Rest in Srinagar at Night Amid Heavy Security

Image Courtesy: PTI

Srinagar: Separatist  leader and founder of the Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani was buried here on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday in a quiet funeral organised by authorities, amid tight security and restrictions with mobile connectivity by and large snapped in Kashmir.

The 91-year-old was buried at a mosque near his residence according to his wishes, his close aides said.

However, his son Naeem said that they wanted to bury him at the Idgah in downtown Srinagar.

Geelani, who spearheaded separatist politics for over three decades in Jammu and Kashmir, died after a prolonged illness on Wednesday night at his residence in Hyderpora on the outskirts of Srinagar city.

His family was asked to carry out the burial at night as a precautionary measure as intelligence reports suggested that some anti-national elements may use this to create a law and order situation in the Kashmir Valley.

Officials said that authorities took Geelani's body and buried him according to rituals at the graveyard of the mosque under heavy police protection.

Geelani had expressed desire to be buried at the mosque at Hyderpora, his close aides said.

Strict restrictions were imposed throughout the Valley to prevent people from assembling and there was heavy deployment of security forces to thwart any untoward incident.

Mobile phone services, barring post-paid connections of state-run BSNL, and internet were shut down as a precautionary measure to prevent rumours and fake news from circulating.

Barricades had been erected at various places and all vehicles were being thoroughly checked.  

Geelani, avowedly a pro-Pakistan supporter who spearheaded the separatist movement in Jammu and Kashmir for over three decades, is survived by two sons and six daughters. He remarried after his first wife passed away in 1968.

The separatist leader had been suffering from a kidney disease for over two decades, besides having other age-related issues, including dementia.

A three-time MLA in the erstwhile state from Sopore, Geelani had virtually become the face of agitation in the 2008 Amarnath land row, 2010 agitation sparked by killing of a youth in Srinagar.

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

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed condolences over Geelani's death on his official Twitter handle.

Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti tweeted saying that she was saddened by the news of his death. "We may not have agreed on most things but I respect him for his steadfastness and standing by his belief..."

People's Conference (PC) chairman Sajad Lone said, "Heartfelt condolences to the family of Syed Ali Shah Geelani Sahib. Was an esteemed colleague of my late father. May Allah grant him Jannat."

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