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Kashmiri Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani passed away at 92

Syed Ali Shah Geelani

Popular separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani passed away on Wednesday late at night due to prolonged illness. The politician died in Srinagar at the age of 92. The authorities, as a precautionary measure, deployed security personnels around the city and even the internet was shut down. A top police official said “Troops are being deployed at all the sensitive places in Srinagar and other major towns and there won’t be any vehicular movement allowed.”

Geelani, who had quit Hurriyat last year was one of the senior separatist leaders in the valley and has been under house arrest since a long time for his anti-India protests. As per his family members, he developed chest pain and congestion on Wednesday afternoon and died late at night at his residence in Srinagar. 

Last rites of the separatist leader were done amidst tight security. He was buried at a graveyard near his residence in Srinagar’s Hyderpora around 4:30 on Thursday morning. Only his close relatives and neighbours were allowed to attend his funeral as the troops completely sealed the graveyard. As a preventive measure, even journalists were not allowed to cover the funeral of the deceased leader while some senior members of Hurriyat were detained. Further, security has been beefed up around Geelani’s house and all the leading roads towards his house were sealed. 

Condolences also poured in for the deceased leader. PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti took to Twitter and wrote “Saddened by the news of Geelani Sahab’s passing away. We may not have agreed on most things but I respect him for his steadfastness and standing by his beliefs. May Allah Ta’ala grant him jannat and condolences to his family and well-wishers.” Sajad Lone of Jammu & Kashmir’s People’s Conference also joined Mufti in paying condolence. 

Condolence also poured in from across the border. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced that Pakistan would observe a day of mourning and the country’s flag would be flown at half-mast. Khan tweeted “Deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Kashmiri freedom fighter Syed Ali Geelani who struggled all his life for his people & their right to self determination. He suffered incarceration & torture by the Occupying Indian state but remained resolute.”

He further added:- We in Pakistan salute his courageous struggle & remember his words: “Hum Pakistani hain aur Pakistan Humara hai”. The Pakistan flag will fly at half-mast and we will observe a day of official mourning.

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