Indian police videos of Kashmir leader’s funeral stir new anger | Conflict news

Indian police videos of Kashmir leader’s funeral stir new anger |  Conflict news

Anger is mounting in the disputed region over police footage of Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s funeral, which his family says they were unable to attend.

Indian security forces maintain an armed guard around the grave of an iconic Kashmiri separatist leader, amid mounting public anger over police footage of his funeral, which his family says they were unable to attend.

Indian authorities have imposed a security crackdown on the disputed Himalayan region since the death of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a leading separatist voice for the past five decades, last Wednesday at the age of 92.

The next day, her son Naseem Geelani told Al Jazeera that the armed police “seized (Geelani’s) body and forcibly buried it” in the middle of the night and “did not allow any of us to participate in the prayers. end “.

Police have denied the allegations, but faced renewed outrage after posting videos on Twitter on Monday, showing Geelani’s body being washed, wrapped in a shroud and buried.

Fearing protests, his grave in Srinagar, the main city of Indian-administered Kashmir, is under armed surveillance and visitors are not allowed.

Mufti Nasir ul Islam, the highest-ranking Islamic jurist in India’s only Muslim-majority region, which is also claimed by Pakistan, condemned the police action as “un-Islamic.”

He told the AFP news agency that the body of a deceased person must be respected even if it is a “criminal sentenced to death.”

“I think his family is hurt and the people of Kashmir are hurt. The police should apologize for doing this, ”said the lawyer.

Police released the clips after a video widely shared on social media showed Geelani’s body, draped in a Pakistani flag, being carried away by armed police while her family fought with police officers.

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Later, the security forces issued a statement, saying that Geelani’s children initially agreed to a quick funeral, but changed their minds “probably under pressure from Pakistan” and “began to resort to anti-national activities.”

He added that “after persuasion,” Geelani’s relatives took the body to the cemetery “and performed the last rites with due respect.” He did not mention which family members were present.

Indian authorities cut mobile phone and internet coverage in Kashmir following Geelani’s death, services that have only just started coming back online since Sunday.

New head of the Kashmir separatist alliance

Geelani was once head of the Hurriyat Conference, an influential coalition of Kashmiri separatist groups that has led political resistance against the Indian government since the early 1990s.

The conference announced on Tuesday that Masarat Alam Bhat, a resistance leader who has been in an Indian jail since 2010, had been appointed the new head of the coalition.

Shabir Ahmad Shah, another jailed leader once hailed as the “Nelson Mandela of Kashmir”, has been appointed the new vice president of the alliance.

Shah has spent a total of 33 years in Indian prisons on and off since the 1980s.

The Indian government has jailed most of Hurriyat’s top leaders.

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Media reports suggest the group could be banned, as are other political and religious organizations that have been banned since 2019, when New Delhi removed the region’s special status and made it a federal territory.

Like his predecessor Geelani, the 51-year-old Bhat is considered an uncompromising defender of the Kashmir resistance and has been in detention for some 25 years.

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