The police in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday released a series of videos on Twitter showing the last rites of separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who died on September 1, being performed.
The police released the videos after there were claims that Geelani was buried without following the mandatory ablution and shrouding customs, according to NDTV. Ablution means cleansing the body with water, while shrouding is covering it with a cloth.
In one of the videos, a group of men can be seen performing the ceremonies. Other videos show funeral prayers being offered and the body being lowered into a grave in Hyderpora, a few hundred metres from Geelani’s home.
Geelani’s family had alleged that his body was taken away by the police and buried forcibly.
The police defended burying the leader’s body in the absence of his sons. They said that Geelani’s sons had initially agreed to their request for burial at night but later changed their minds.
“Three hours later probably under the pressure from Pakistan and miscreants, they [the sons] behaved differently and started resorting to anti-national activities including wrapping [the] dead body in Pakistani flag, making loud sloganeering in favour of Pakistan and instigating neighbours to come out,” the police claimed.
The police also alleged that the leader’s sons did not come to the graveyard, indicating their “loyalty to Pakistani agenda rather than their love and respect for their departed father”.
Geelani had campaigned for Jammu and Kashmir to be merged with Pakistan since early 1960s. He had been opposed to talks with the Indian government for years and routinely called for the boycott of elections in Kashmir.
Geelani’s body ‘maltreated’, ‘desecrated’, allege J&K leaders
Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti and Hurriyat chief Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Monday accused the Jammu and Kashmir administration of disrespecting Geelani during the burial, reported The Hindu.
“From the videos I saw and the statements made by Geelani’s family members, it’s unfortunate that his body was maltreated and desecrated,” Mufti alleged. “It’s sad a person who is dead was not treated with dignity. We cannot do revenge politics on a dead man’s body.”
Mufti said that although she did not agree with Geelani’s political views, people respected him and were pained at his demise. She said that people were also saddened by the fact that Geelani’s last wish of being buried in Srinagar’s “martyrs” graveyard was not granted.
“Even the last wish of a person about to be hanged is granted,” said the former chief minister. “This goes against Indian culture. We should keep in mind that the world has a very high opinion of India and its values.”
Mufti also said that booking Geelani’s relatives under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act showed “the Centre’s deep-rooted paranoia and ruthlessness”.
She added: “This is New India’s Naya Kashmir [New Kashmir].”
Geelani’s relatives were booked under the stringent Act after a video emerged showing the leader’s body being draped in Pakistan’s flag.
In a statement, Farooq said that it was “tragically inhuman” when the family of the deceased is not allowed to attend their funeral. “One can only imagine what the family must have gone through,” he said.
He said the police were harassing Geelani’s family with First Information Reports and threats of arrests that only “exposes their cruelty”.
Farooq added: “In this hour of grief and injustice, the whole nation stands with the family.”
Restrictions continue in Srinagar for fifth straight day
Meanwhile, restrictions remained in parts of Srinagar on Monday, even as curbs were lifted elsewhere in Jammu and Kashmir, reported Greater Kashmir. The restrictions had been imposed after Geelani’s death.
Kashmir Inspector General of Police Vijay Kumar said that mobile internet services were restored in eight districts, except Srinagar and Budgam. A review meeting will be held later on Tuesday to discuss restoring mobile internet services in Srinagar and Budgam, he added.
On other restrictions, police officials said that curbs have been imposed in Hyderpora and Eidgah areas of the city as a precautionary measure. “We have apprehensions that miscreants might attempt to disrupt prevailing peace,” an official said.
Some shops and markets also opened in Srinagar, especially in the Lal Chowk area. Public transport resumed in many parts of the city.
In the old city area, some places continued to remain shut. “From Nowhatta, Hawal and Eidgah side, the shops remained mostly closed while most of them from Khanyar, Rainawari and Khayam side opened today,” said a police official.
Security forces also remained deployed across Kashmir. “The situation remained peaceful throughout the day,” Kumar said. “People are cooperating in maintaining the peace.”