India bars Geelani’s family from attending his burial
Indian police barge into Geelani’s house after midnight and snatch away father’s body, says son Naseem Geelani
File photo of Syed Naseem Geelani.
Syed Ali Geelani was buried in a tightly controlled pre-dawn ceremony Thursday in Srinagar as Indian authorities imposed a lockdown across the disputed Himalayan region.
The uncompromising campaigner against Indian rule in Occupied Kashmir died late Wednesday at the age of 92 following a long illness.
Wary of his influence across the Kashmir Valley, Indian security forces were deployed soon after, mobile internet and phones were cut and residents were told to stay in their homes.
Geelani, who had spent much of the last five decades in jail or under house arrest, had wanted to be buried at the Martyrs Cemetery in Srinagar along with other Kashmiri freedom fighters. But authorities rejected the request, the police source said.
"At about 3:00 am, police barged inside our home and took our father's body," one of his sons, Syed Naseem Geelani, told AFP. "We insisted that we would perform his funeral after morning prayers and bury him according to his wish at the Martyrs Cemetery."
"We heard later that police undertook washing rituals for my father's body and had him buried."
An Indian police source acknowledged that security forces "took control of the arrangements".
The official said the family were given choices but did not respond. He said two sons were present but did not name them.
Residents said authorities feared that any mass mourning could turn into unrest. "Troops are everywhere, there are barbed wire blockades on every main road," said one.
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.–Agencies