Syed Ali Shah Geelani, veteran leader of Kashmir freedom struggle, passes away

Developing Just Leadership

Crescent International

Muharram 23, 1443 2021-09-01

Daily News Analysis

by Crescent International

Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the veteran struggler for Kashmiri freedom, bids farewell to this ephemeral world to enter eternal life

Updated Thursday September 2, 2021 at 9:30 pm Toronto time

In another act of barbarism, the Indian occupation forces did not allow a proper burial for the veteran Kashmiri freedom leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

He had died in his house in Srinagar on September 1 at 10 pm local time.

His body was forcibly removed from his house in Srinagar at 3 am and despite strong protests by the family, they took it away and buried it in the middle of the night.

The family wanted to have the funeral and burial at 10 am. They had planned to bury the veteran leader in the Shuhada Cemetery.

It was only later that the occupation forces notified the family where Syed Geelani was buried.

Curfew was still in force throughout Srinagar today and all Internet services were shut down to prevent people from communicating with each other.

Wednesday September 01, 2021 - 7:30 pm Toronto time

Frail and in poor health, Syed Geelani was under house arrest at the time of his death.

In a press release the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) said that along with his general physical weakness, his chest infection was also not responding properly to treatment.

The APHC press release was shared by the Kashmir Media Service, the leading Kashmiri media outlet about news relating to Indian occupied Kashmir.

Syed Geelani was the chairman of the APHC for many years since its establishment in 1993.

It is an umbrella group of more than two dozen political organizations.

He resigned from it last year due to failing health.

Of all the Kashmiri leaders, Syed Geelani was known for his steely determination and uncompromising stand on the freedom of Kashmir from Indian occupation.

For his stand, he spent many years in Indian prisons.

That the Indian occupiers would be so terrified of an old man in poor health to keep him incarcerated in his house shows how much influence he had over the people of Kashmir.

As soon as his death was announced by his family who said he had passed away at around 10 pm local time, hundreds of people started to converge on his house.

The Indian occupation troops, in their customary brutality, blocked all roads leading to the late leader’s house.

Military vehicles were deployed and the occupation forces installed barricades and barbed wire on streets to prevent people from reaching Syed Geelani’s house.

Al Jazeera, quoting a police official, said only family members and a “few neighbours would be allowed to take part in the funeral”.

Tributes poured in immediately after his death was announced.

In recognition of his life-long struggle for the Kashmiri freedom struggle, last year President Arif Alvi of Pakistan conferred Nishan-e Pakistan on Syed Geelani.

This is Pakistan’s highest civilian award.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “deeply saddened” to learn of Syed Geelani’s death.

“He suffered incarceration and torture by the occupying Indian state but remained resolute.

“The Pakistan flag will fly at half-mast and we will observe a day of official mourning,” Prime Minister Khan announced.

Even Mehbooba Mufti, a pro-Indian Kashmiri politician, was forced to pay tribute to Syed Geelani’s life-long struggle and consistency.

The former chief minister of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir tweeted in her condolence message:

“We may not have agreed on most things but I respect him for his steadfastness & standing by his beliefs.”

Syed Ali Shah Geelani was a truly legendary figure in the Kashmiris’ struggle for freedom from the yoke of Indian colonialism.

It would be difficult to replace someone of his stature but the Kashmiris’ struggle will continue, insha’Allah.

The spark of freedom lit in the hearts of people cannot be extinguished by guns and bullets.

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