Mr. Geelani was a staunch opponent of the Indian government’s control over the Kashmir Valley and favored Pakistani sovereignty over the mostly Muslim region.

SRINAGAR, KASHMIR – Syed Ali Geelani, an influential and steadfast leader of Kashmir’s separatist movement who refused to engage with India over the future of the troubled Himalayan region, passed away. While under house arrest in Srinagar, the largest city of Kashmir, on Wednesday. He was 91 years old.

His death was confirmed by his son Naseem Gilani. He did not give any reasons but said that his father had been suffering from heart and kidney ailment for the past two decades and was recently suffering from age-related issues including dementia.

Even in death, Mr. Gilani showed that he could harass Indian-led officials in the region. Internet was closed Across the Kashmir Valley. Increased security forces patrolled the empty streets.

Naseem Gilani said that the police took his body a few hours after his death, which led to his death. quiet funeral For a resistance leader who was once able to call thousands of people to the streets to protest.

For years, Mr. Gilani resisted talks with India over the future of Kashmir, the picturesque valley of eight million people, most of whom were Muslims. This valley under the control of India is also occupied by Pakistan. Their bitter territorial dispute has fueled decades of bloodshed.

Mr. Gilani had long argued that the Valley should come under Pakistan’s control due to its geographical and religious links with the largely Muslim country. He said that India should withdraw its troops from Kashmir and was once promised by the Indian government whether Kashmir should be part of India or Pakistan, although he has indicated in recent years that if that option was voted in a plebiscite. If it prevails, it will be in favor of freedom. led by the United Nations.

one in Tweet On Thursday, Pakistan’s prime minister, Imran Khan, said Mr Gilani had “fight all his life for his people and for their right to self-determination.” He said that Pakistan will observe an official mourning day.

Officials in Kashmir and in India’s central government, who have long considered Mr Gilani a major obstacle to solving the region’s violence, declined to comment. Satya Pal Malik, a former government official, who had publicly targeted by his rhetoric He said he was “kind and very gentle.”

Former Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Malik said, “I have fond memories of him, until the Indian government dissolved Kashmir two years ago as part of a regional action. Mr. Malik said, “ His death should not be politicized or exploited politically by any section.”

The Kashmir Valley has been under the control of Indian security forces for a long time. In recent years, India’s Hindu-nationalist government has made overcoming Kashmir a top priority.

A charismatic leader, Mr. Gilani was often referred to as “Bab,” or “father” in Kashmiri, and gained popularity by remaining steadfastly resistant to Indian rule. A popular chant during the demonstrations: “He who does not bow down: Geelani! What can’t be bought: Geelani”

Noor Ahmed Baba, a political analyst from Kashmir, said, “He was the most recognized face of the Kashmiri resistance against India and an eminent political figure.” “No other political figure from the Valley has matched his popularity.”

The authorities had kept Mr. Gilani under their watch for a long time. With only a few breaks, he was under house arrest for 11 years.

Mr. Geelani’s opposition to joining New Delhi was in contrast to other factions of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, a group of organizations demanding self-determination for Kashmir. He argued that India negotiated on the grounds that Kashmir was an integral part of the country, a position he rejected.

His harsh anti-negotiation stance has landed him at times in trouble even with his sympathizers in Pakistan. In 2006, Pakistan’s then military dictator Pervez Musharraf unveiled the ultimately unsuccessful four-point formula for settling the Kashmir dispute with India. Mr. Gilani rejected it.

Despite his popularity in Kashmir, he had many critics who rejected his often strict Islamic worldview. He also blamed them for failing to support the region’s independence movement, which led to violence against the Indian Army in 1989.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani was born on September 29, 1929, in Zuri Munj, a village in north Kashmir, in a poor family who subsist on manual labour. He attended school in the city of Sopore. He graduated from high school in 1945 and went to Lahore, Pakistan to study the Quran, and later earned a bachelor’s degree in Persian literature.

Mr. Gilani was imprisoned for 13 months in 1962 for participating in anti-India activities. He was arrested again in 1965 and spent more than a year in prison for nurturing secret contacts in Pakistan.

Arrests and jailings continued after he joined the Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamic organization, and was elected to the state assembly in 1972. Indian authorities confiscated Mr. Gilani’s passport in 1981 and did not return it, with one exception in 2006. Travel to Mecca in Saudi Arabia for Muslim Hajj pilgrimage.

In the 1980s, he began calling for public protest and resistance and found a receptive audience among angry Kashmiris. After violence erupted in 1989, the start of more than 30 years of conflict, Mr. Gilani became perhaps the movement’s most visible leader. His call for a strike by workers may bring the Kashmir Valley to a standstill for several days. He was involved in the funeral rites of those who died fighting the Indian Army.

Mr. Gilani’s public profile may have reached its peak in 2008, when he became the face of resistance following a new wave of demonstrations and violence following a land dispute.

Indian officials sometimes tried to defuse Mr. Gilani. In 2016, protests and violence erupted after Indian police killed a terrorist commander, Burhan Wani. In response, Mr. Gilani and other resistance leaders created a “protest calendar” that set out when demonstrations would take place and when shops would open and close. Indian officials tried to speak to him and other leaders, but Mr. Gilani refused to participate, describing the outreach as “mere optics for the Indian media”.

Mr. Gilani’s influence has waned in recent years. last year he resigned As the leader of the Hurriyat Conference, citing infighting within the group and India’s inability to stop the 2019 action, which set aside a degree of autonomy that New Delhi has long extended to the region Was.

He married twice. Apart from two daughters, Anisha and Farhat, from a previous marriage, he is survived by his wife, Jawahira Begum, and two daughters, Jamshida and Chamshida, and two sons, Naeem and Naseem.

Despite his age and growing weaknesses, Mr. Gilani remained defiant.

one in Video posted online in 2018Mr. Gilani knocks on the door of his house from inside, asking Indian soldiers to let him out so he can pray at a relative’s funeral.

“Open the door. I won’t fly,” Mr. Gilani tells the officers. “We want to perform the last rites for your democracy.”


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