Asia - Pacific

Late Kashmiri leader's family booked over alleged slogan chanting

Police file report against Syed Ali Geelani's family, others for 'anti-national activities,’ says official

Hilal Mir   | 05.09.2021
Late Kashmiri leader's family booked over alleged slogan chanting

SRINAGAR, Jammu and Kashmir

Police in Indian-administered Kashmir entered charges against family members of a recently deceased top Kashmiri leader and others for chanting slogans and "resorting to other anti-national activities" in his dying moments, according to an official on Saturday.

A police official told Anadolu Agency on the condition of anonymity that a first information report, which is a prelude to subsequent police action on the specified charges, had been filed into the incident that occurred at Syed Ali Geelani's residence after his death.

He did not specify the nature of the "anti-national activities," a blanket term for any action deemed against the Indian state but said the charges could include Geelani's body being draped in the Pakistani flag, the shouting of pro-freedom slogans and coming to blows with police.

The official also did not reveal the number of individuals booked.

The 91-year-old leader late Wednesday after a prolonged illness at his residence, where he had been under house detention for the better part of the past decade. He had willed that he be buried in the region's largest cemetery, the Martyrs Graveyard in the capital, Srinagar, but police, fearing widespread participation of people, did not let that happen.

Geelani's son, Naseem Geelani, had told several media outlets that police had taken custody of his father's body, beat family members and buried it in a nearby graveyard. Family members were only allowed to offer prayers the next morning, he said.

A video that went viral on social media showed family members, including shrieking and crying women, arguing with police after the body was taken away.

In a statement, however, police said it "facilitated" bringing the body from the house to the graveyard as there was apprehension that "miscreants might take undue advantage of the situation."

Geelani worked throughout his life for a plebiscite to be held in Kashmir as per resolutions of the UN Security Council and supported the region's accession to neighboring Pakistan.

Kashmir, a Muslim-majority Himalayan region, 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, India and Pakistan have fought three wars -- in 1948, 1965 and 1971 -- two of them over Kashmir. Also, in the Siachen Glacier region of northern Kashmir, Indian and Pakistani troops have fought intermittently since 1984. A cease-fire took effect in 2003.

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

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

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