Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani passes away at 92, Mehbooba Mufti expresses grief

Syed Ali Shah Geelani passed away on Wednesday at the age of 91 at his home in Srinagar.

Syed Ali Shah Geelani passed away on Wednesday at the age of 91 at his home in Srinagar.

Kashmiri separatist Syed Ali Shah Geelani passed away on Wednesday night in his home in Srinagar after suffering from prolonged illness. The 92-year-old had been suffering from various ailments for nearly last two decades. Geelani, a hardline Islamist leader, had resigned from politics and Hurriyat last year.

The news was confirmed by former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mohbooba Mufti on Twitter. “Saddened by the news of Geelani sahab’s passing away. We may not have agreed on most things but I respect him for his steadfastness & standing by his beliefs. May Allah Ta’aala grant him jannat & condolences to his family & well wishers,” she said.

Following the demise of the separatist leader, restrictions have been imposed in the Valley, including suspension of internet services as a precautionary measure to prevent confusion due to spread of rumours, IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar said.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed condolences over Geelani’s death on his official Twitter handle.

People’s Conference (PC) chairman Sajad Lone said, “Heartfelt condolences to the family of Syed Ali Shah Geelani Sahib. Was an esteemed colleague of my late father. May Allah grant him Jannat.”

Geelan was the leader of the hardline faction of Hurriyat. Earlier, he was a member of Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir but later on founded his own party known as Tehreek-e-Hurriyat. He was also the MLA from Sopore constituency of Jammu and Kashmir in 1972, 1977 and 1987.

Geelani had virtually become the face of agitation in the 2008 Amarnath land row, 2010 agitation sparked by killing of a youth in Srinagar.

In June this year, Geelani resigned as chief of the hardline faction of the Hurriyat Conference, complaining that constituents of the amalgam failed to lead the people after abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, “overstepped the limits”, and tried to “create a parallel structure”.

He also took a swipe at the Hurriyat leadership in Pakistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, calling it “just a representative forum” with “no power to take any decision” and using its influence to “get close to power corridors” in Pakistan.

His passport was seized in 1981 and never returned, barring an exception in 2006 to facilitate him to perform Hajj pilgrimage. There were several cases pending against him in the Enforcement Directorate, police and Income Tax Department.

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