Express News Service
SRINAGAR: The body Hardline separatist and former Hurriyat Conference chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who died on Wednesday night, was given a quiet burial before the sunrise on Thursday amid high security.
His family alleged that the police forcibly took his body and quietly buried it at a graveyard near his residence at 4.45 am, sources said.
Only a handful of people were allowed to attend his funeral prayers.
Geelani’s son Naeem Geelani told this newspaper that nobody from his family was allowed to attend the burial.
“The police stormed into our house around 3 am, misbehaved with the people present inside, including women and forcibly took away Geelani’s body. The women were dragged out of the room and threatened they will be fired at,” he alleged.
Naeem said it was the police who gave Geelani his last bath. They also dug his grave and buried him after giving a funeral prayer. “All this was done in our absence and none from family attended his burial or funeral prayers”.
He said IG and SSP Budgam visited their home and they told them that Geelani’s last wish was that his body is buried in the martyrs graveyard at Eidgah.
“They said it is not possible. We told them to give us permission to bury the body quietly in martyrs graveyard Eidgah. However, they did not agree and said they have orders to get the body buried before dawn,” Naeem said.
The police denied the allegations and said Geelani’s family members were present at the funeral site.
Meanwhile, with Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan declaring a day of official mourning on the demise of Geelani, India on Thursday said it was the Pakistani PM’s statement and it had no comments to offer.
Geelani, 91, died at his home in Srinagar on Wednesday night after a prolonged illness.
The pro-Pakistan separatist leader, who spearheaded separatist politics for over three decades in Jammu and Kashmir, was buried at a mosque near his residence.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “deeply saddened” to learn about Geelani’s death.
“The Pakistan flag will fly at half-mast and we will observe a day of official mourning,” Khan said.
Asked about Khan’s statement at an online media briefing, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, “I don’t have an immediate comment on this. It is his statement. They had given him ‘Nishan-e-Pakistan’, their wish, what can I say.”
Asked about reports of vandalising of temple and breaking of idols in Pakistan, Bagchi said India has issued many statements on attacks on minorities in Pakistan and has raised such issues with them in the past.
On the resumption of air bubble with Bangladesh, the MEA spokesperson said talks are underway and proposals are being discussed.
To a separate question on Vishal Jood, who is lodged in an Australian prison reportedly over his alleged hand in a series of hate attacks on suspected pro-Khalistan Sikhs in Sydney this year,
Bagchi said a judgment has been passed in the case on Thursday and the ministry is ascertaining its details.
Restrictions were imposed in Srinagar and other parts of the Valley to foil attempts from Geelani’s supporters to reach his residence.
Security forces had placed concertina wires and armoured vehicles on the roads.
(With PTI Inputs)