Politics, Health, Asia - Pacific

Kashmir: Top leader’s ailing health triggers panic

India beefs up security in region, suspends internet service; family says Geelani's health condition is stable

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 13.02.2020
Kashmir: Top leader’s ailing health triggers panic Kashmir's top resistance leader Syed Ali Geelani. (AA file Photo: Faisal Khan)


The deteriorating health condition of Kashmir's top resistance leader Syed Ali Geelani has triggered panic across India and Pakistan, prompting Indian authorities once again to suspend internet services in the disputed region.

However, the family of Geelani, 90,said his condition is stable for now.

In a statement on Wednesday, the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, an alliance of groups fighting for independence from India led by Geelani, confirmed his failing health condition.

“More than a decade long continued detention has taken a heavy toll on the health [and] in addition to general physical weakness, his chest infection is not satisfactorily responding to treatment,” the statement said.

The Indian government, according to daily Economic Times, has already discussed a plan of action in case of the popular leader's death as his funeral procession is expected to draw a sea of supporters, and could turn into a demonstration against Indian rule.

Geelani has been under house arrest since 2010 in Hyderpora area of Srinagar, the summer capital of Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir. He has only been allowed to move for medical emergencies, the alliance said.

Geelani suffers many ailments including heart disease, chest congestion and prostate problems, among over a dozen issues. One of his kidneys has been removed.

The deployment of Indian troops has also been increased at "vulnerable places in Kashmir", according to Press Trust of India.

Kashmir dispute

Jammu and Kashmir is held by India and Pakistan in parts and claimed by both in full. A small sliver of Kashmir is also held by China.

Since they were partitioned in 1947, the two countries have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir.

Some Kashmiri groups in Jammu and Kashmir have been fighting against Indian rule for independence or unification with neighboring Pakistan.

According to several human rights organizations, thousands of people have reportedly been killed in the conflict in the region since 1989.

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