Indian Kashmir on Lockdown after Death of Separatist Leader

Indian authorities imposed lockdowns in Kashmir after its veteran separatist leader and icon of the region’s opposition to New Delhi’s law, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, died on Wednesday, September 1.

Al Jazeera reported that for years, Geelani led the Hurriyat Conference, a broad alliance of secessionists, and used civil disobedience through shutdowns and protests to oppose Indian rule. The conference split in 2003 when a group of separatists who were in favor of Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan walked out after talks with New Delhi were underway.

Armed forces surrounded main roads and checkpoints around Geelani’s home and some parts of Srinagar to control outcries after his death.

Kashmir’s business districts remained closed, vehicles have been restricted, and the authorities cut communications via internet and mobile networks since late Wednesday.

Geelani’s son Naseem told Al Jazeera that his father’s funeral was quiet because authorities organized it and enforced strict rules. Naseem said they were supposed to bury Geelani at 10 a.m. so that relatives who live far away could see him for the last time. 

The authorities, however, took the body at 3 a.m. and did not allow any of the family to partake in the last respects and see his final resting place until 10 a.m. on Thursday, September 2. 

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