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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Footage of Geelani’s funeral rites “un-Islamic”, spurs anger

The Kashmiri people have condemned Indian police action of sharing the footage of Geelani's funeral rites and claimed that it was a violation of the sanctity of the dead body. Id such instigation continues, Kashmiri resistance will become more strong and resilient.

The recent footage of Kashmir’s resistance Geelani funeral rites has spurred new wave of anger and resentment among the Kashmiri Muslims. The footage showed Geelani’s funeral rites and the moments of his last ablution and wrapping in shroud (Kafan) that lead to extreme anger that Indian forces can stoop to a level that they ignored the sanctity of a dead body.

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

Mufti Nasir ul Islam, the most senior 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”.

Read more: President, PM condole death of Kashmiri freedom fighter Syed Ali Geelani

Family not allowed to attend Geelani’s funeral rites

Indian security forces are maintaining an armed guard around the grave of an iconic Kashmir separatist leader, amid mounting public anger over police footage of his funeral, which his family say they were barred from attending.

Indian authorities have imposed a security clampdown in the contested Himalayan region since the death of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a leading separatist voice over the past five decades, last Wednesday at the age of 92

The next day, his son Naseem Geelani told Al Jazeera the armed police “snatched his (Geelani’s) body and forcibly buried him” in the middle of the night and “did not allow any of us to take part in final prayers”.

Indian inhumanity knows no end

Fearing protests, his grave in Indian-administered Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar is under armed guard and visitors are not allowed

“I think his family is hurt and the people of Kashmir are hurt. Police should apologise for doing this,” the jurist said.

Police issued the clips after a video widely shared on social media showed Geelani’s body, wrapped in a Pakistan flag, being taken away by the armed police as his family scuffled with police officers.

Security forces then issued a statement, saying Geelani’s sons initially agreed to a quick funeral but changed their minds “probably under the pressure from Pakistan” and “started resorting to anti-national activities”. The police tried to shift the blame by accusing Pakistan something that they had always been doing.

It added that “after persuasion”, Geelani’s relatives brought the body to the graveyard “and performed last rites with due respect.” It did not name which relatives were present.

Indian authorities cut mobile-phone coverage and the internet across Kashmir following Geelani’s death, services that have only begun coming back online since Sunday.

Masarat Alam Bhat to carry Geelani’s legacy of freedom struggle

Geelani was once head of the Hurriyat Conference, an influential coalition of Kashmir separatist groups that has led political resistance against Indian rule 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 named as the new head of the coalition.

Shabir Ahmad Shah, another jailed leader, once hailed as the “Nelson Mandela of Kashmir”, has been made the new vice chairman of the alliance. Shah has spent a total of 33 years in Indian prisons intermittently since the 1980s. Like his predecessor Geelani, 51-year-old Bhat is considered an uncompromising proponent of the Kashmir resistance and has been under detention for some 25 years.

The Indian government has jailed most top Hurriyat leaders and planned to ban the Hurriyat group just like other resistant political and religious organizations it has detained since Aug 5, 2019 when New Delhi scrapped the region’s special status and turned it into a federal territory.

But if such incidents of instigation such as sharing footage of Geelani’s funeral rites which target Muslim sentiments continue, Kashmiri resistance will become more strong and resilient.

Read more: Kashmiris and their indomitable fighting spirit