Geelani buried at graveyard near his residence amid tight security
Prominent separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani was buried at a local graveyard close to his house in Hyderpora around 4:30am on Thursday, amid tight security.
Geelani, 91, had passed away at his residence around 10.30pm on Wednesday night. Only close relatives and neighbours were allowed to participate in the funeral at the local graveyard that was completely sealed by the forces.
Geelani’s family members told mediapersons that the police forcibly took away the body and carried out the burial even before their relatives could reach Srinagar. They also accused the police of misbehaving with them.
Even mediapersons were prevented from covering the funeral and were stopped by police near Hyderpora.
Apprehending trouble, authorities had imposed restrictions across Kashmir and snapped the internet and mobile phones.
Only postpaid BSNL mobiles were working in Kashmir and forces were deployed across the district, with all roads leading towards Hyderpora completely sealed.
Additional troops were deployed at sensitive places, especially in old city and north Kashmir. In the morning, police stopped vehicles on the national highway at several spots and didn’t allow them to move towards Srinagar or other major towns.
The roads of Srinagar city presented a deserted look as people stayed inside their homes. Police and security forces were seen patrolling at different places even as bullet-proof mobile bunkers were paced at sensitive spots.
Inspector General of Police, Vijay Kumar said that soon after Geelani’s death, restrictions were imposed across Kashmir as a preventive measure. For the past many months, police had been carrying out mock drills for the funeral of the separatist leader as many of his supporters wanted to bury him at the martyrs’ graveyard in old city.
Family claims police forcibly took away body
Nayeem Geelani, the elder son of Syed Ali Geelani, accused the police of forcibly taking away his father’s body for burial, stating that even family members weren’t able to attend the funeral.
Nayeem, who, along with other family members, was at Geelani’s Hyderpora residence when the separatist leader passed away, said that his father had developed breathing problems around 9.30 pm. “We put him on oxygen support but he passed away around 10pm,” said Nayeem.
He said that soon after Geelani’s death, police officers approached them and told them that they had to bury the separatist leader at a local graveyard at night. “We told them about my father’s wish to be buried at Eidgah but the officer in-charge told us that there was pressure from higher officials to bury him at night.”
Nayeem, who is a doctor by profession, said the police then forcibly took away the body at 3am. “The body was taken to a local Jamia Masjid and then buried after religious formalities. After police snatched the body, they had asked us to attend the funeral which we refused.”
Nayeem said the family members only went to Geelani’s grave in the morning. “We had even requested the police wait till morning so that our relatives could reach the city but they didn’t pay heed to us.”
He said that even after Geelani’s death, authorities were fearful of him. “They (govt) thought that this death could trigger upheaval.”
Inspector General of Police, Vijay Kumar, refused to comment on the alleged forcible snatching of Geelani’s body from his house.
A police spokesman said that the situation across valley remained peaceful and no any untoward incident was reported. “Pertinently, some vested interests tried to spread baseless rumours about forcible burial of SAS Geelani by police. Such baseless reports which are as a part of false propaganda to incite violence are totally refuted by the police. As a matter of fact, police facilitated in bringing the body from house to graveyard as there were apprehensions of miscreants taking undue advantage of the situation. The relatives of the deceased participated in the burial,” he said, adding that restrictions and internet shutdown will continue tomorrow. “We shall review the situation tomorrow afternoon and take further course of action.”