India continues Kashmir lockdown after separatist politician’s death | DW | 03.09.2021

A security lockdown in India-administered Kashmir has continued for a second day. The measures come after Wednesday’s death of 91-year-old separatist leader Syed Ali Sha Geelani. He had been under house arrest for the past 12 years and had been in poor health before his passing.

Geelani buried without family

The late politician’s family members have accused police of forcibly burying him. Geelani’s son Naseem told DW his father’s body was taken in the early hours of the morning, despite the family insisting they would be burying him in accordance with religious customs.

Indian authorities said they decided to bury Geelani without any of his family members present. They’ve also denied the family’s allegations of a forced burial, saying they are “baseless rumors” and are being made by those with “vested interests.”

Videos on social media show highly agitated family members appearing to scuffle with police shortly before Geelani was taken away. His body was draped in the flag of Pakistan.

Islamabad observed an official day of mourning following Geelani’s death. Mosques in the restive region have said they would be saying special prayers honoring him.

Communications blackout

Thousands of police and troops have descended on Kashmir following the death of the separatist leader. Armed personnel patrolled the streets of the main city of Srinagar to enforce restrictions on movement and communication.

Internet and telephone communications have been blocked since Geelani’s death.

Late on Thursday, there had been confrontations between residents and security forces. Teargas was used to disperse protesters.

The region has long been a major bone of contention between India and Pakistan, with the drawn-out dispute having killed tens of thousands.  New Delhi stripped away the region’s semi-autonomous status in 2019 as it instituted a raft of new laws.

The region is under the direct control of New Delhi.

kb/sms (AP, AFP)


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