Clashes in occupied Kashmir after denial of public funeral for Geelani

Published September 4, 2021
Indian policemen ride armoured vehicles after dispersing Kashmiri protesters during day-long security restrictions in Srinagar. — AP
Indian policemen ride armoured vehicles after dispersing Kashmiri protesters during day-long security restrictions in Srinagar. — AP

SRINAGAR: Thousands of Indian security personnel maintained a lockdown across occupied Kashmir on Friday after the death of a veteran leader sparked clashes with protesters.

The passing of Syed Ali Geelani at the age of 92 heightened tensions in the disputed Himalayan territory after authorities refused to let him have a public funeral.

An internet and mobile phone shutdown ordered after the iconic leader died late on Wednesday continued for the second day.

Security forces were deployed around ma­j­or mosques that remained closed, but special prayers for Geelani were held in a few smaller sites across the Muslim majority region.

Mirwaiz calls funeral restrictions ‘extremely shameful’

Thousands of police and troops patrolled the streets to keep people indoors following clashes between residents and government forces in the main city of Srinagar late on Thursday.

But dozens of citizens, angry at the refusal to let them pay a public tribute to Geelani, clashed with government forces for the second day, hurling stones at paramilitaries who chased them with batons.

Geelani’s son accused police of taking his father’s body away to be buried in the middle of the night, hours after his death.

The family said no relatives were allowed at the burial but police rejected the allegations as “false propaganda”.

A video widely shared on social media showed officers in a scuffle with Geelani’s relatives before taking away his body that was wrapped in a Pakistani flag.

Geelani, who had spent much of the past five decades in jail or under house arrest, had infuriated successive Indian governments with his pro-Pakistan stance and demands for a self-determination vote.

Pakistan observed a day of official mourning for Geelani on Thursday.

Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, occupied Kashmir’s chief cleric and Geelani’s longtime associate, said in a statement that the funeral restrictions were “extremely shameful and expose the authoritarian mindset of the government”.

India imposed a similar internet shutdown and other controls for nearly a year after stripping the territory of its semi-autonomy in 2019.

An insurgency against Indian rule erupted in 1989 and has left tens of thousands of dead.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2021

Opinion

Editorial

Police excesses
13 Aug, 2022

Police excesses

EVER since Shahbaz Gill’s unwise words considerably complicated the PTI’s relationship with the establishment,...
Afghan cleric’s killing
13 Aug, 2022

Afghan cleric’s killing

THAT a suicide bomber belonging to the self-styled Islamic State group managed to target a senior Taliban cleric in...
No room for hockey
13 Aug, 2022

No room for hockey

THERE have been accusations and clarifications as the blame game rumbles on. Yet despite workers of the PTI ...
Militancy redux
Updated 12 Aug, 2022

Militancy redux

There is fear and confusion all around, and it is for the state to bring clarity to the situation.
Distorting history
12 Aug, 2022

Distorting history

WHEN history is co-opted by ideologically overzealous elements, expect the facts to die a quick death, and...
Dengue danger
12 Aug, 2022

Dengue danger

WITH rains continuing across most of the country, a dengue outbreak can quickly become a major headache for health...