Death of Jammu & Kashmir’s Iconic Leader-Syed Ali Shah Geelani

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By TON Research Section 

Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the face of Kashmir’s resistance movement died at the age of 92. He was suffering from multiple ailments but continued house arrest despite his bad health condition. It could not be denied Indian authorities deliberately created situation and kept him under detention despite knowing about his bad health condition. He was not allowed to travel anywhere even for his treatment. Syed Ali Geelani’s funeral was held under tight millitary restrictions by Indian authorities and security forces. After his death was announced, large group of police and paramilitary troopers were deployed by Indian authorities outside Geelani’s home and other areas in the valley. Mobile and internet services are completely suspended and roads are sealed. He was an uncompromising campaigner against Indian hegemonic rule in India illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

Syed Ali Geelani was a key Huriyat leader and remained associated with the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir, the largest political-religious organization in IIOJK, later on he also founded his own party Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Jammu and Kashmir. In 1972, 1977 and 1987 he was elected to the Kashmir Legislative Assembly. He spent nearly 10 years in different jails of India after 1962 for opposing Indian rule in the occupied region and remained under house arrest. During his imprisonment he endured physical as well as mental torture by Indian forces. In 2015, on the orders of Indian government his residence and office at Hyderpora was converted into a sub jail. Earlier, in 1981, his passport was seized due the allegations of “anti-india” activities. He was not allowed to travel to any other country. In 2019, after the Pulwama attack India’s Enforcement Directorate levied a penalty of Rs 14.40 lakh and ordered confiscation of nearly Rs 6.8 lakh in connection with a Foreign Exchange Management Act case against him.

He was the former chief of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) and led it until late 2020. APHC was formed in 1993 to provide a political platform to the people of Jammu and Kashmir however; last year he quit his APHC alliance saying that APHC has failed to counter India’s efforts to tighten its grip on the disputed region. He remained the voice of Kashmiris struggle for the right to self determination till his death. Syed Geelani was a staunch opponent of Indian rule and strived all his life for this cause. Syed Ali Gilani wanted the settlement of Kashmir dispute according to the aspirations of Kashmir’s people and demanded merger of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir with Pakistan. He coined the slogan ‘Hum Pakistani Hain, Pakistan Hamara Ha.’

Since the emergence of Pakistan, Kashmir has remained an area of conflict between both countries. The grotesque genocide of Kashmiri’s, human rights abuses and violence by Indian security forces against defenseless people of IIOJK is the reason behind the struggle for liberation. Indian government unilaterally ended the special status of Kashmir, this unconstitutional measure which is against the spirit of democracy caused a burning effect throughout Kashmir. Since then, Jammu and Kashmir has been directly under the control of New Delhi, which wiped out the scope for any middle parties. In this Kashmir movement hundreds of Kashmiri leaders and freedom fighters were jailed, tortured, exiled and succumbed to death by Indian security forces. To avoid any reaction to the move, severe months-long restrictions were imposed by the government on political leadership and several high-profile politicians from the valley remain held under murky circumstances. As many as 400 political leaders were either detained or placed under house arrest. Syed Ali Geelani who, has advocated for Kashmir's independence from India's illegal rule, has been kept under detention since 2010. The reason of his detention was that he and other leaders would mobilize crowds against India's illegal aggression in the valley and could strengthen Kashmir’s freedom movement.

Jammu & Kashmir, which is one of the most militarized zone in the world, where Kashmiris have fought for decades against Indian atrocities and despite facing every day to day aggression of Indian forces, they have continued their fight for freedom. Indian government and forces have deliberately created a situation for Syed Ali Geelani death and in his lifetime he suffered persecution at the hands of India. He made significant and unrelenting contributions for Kashmiri’s freedom movement and his death has deeply saddened all Kashmir’s. Albeit, leaders like Syed Ali Shah Geelani who remained the voice of suppressed Kashmiri’s will be remembered as symbol of bravery, who have always taken stand against Indian atrocities. Albeit, the death of Geelani is a loss to many but it cannot dim the light of freedom movement in IIOJK.


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