Indian police recordings of Hurriyat pioneer Geelani’s burial service mix new indignation

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Indian security forces maintained an armed guard round the grave of Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Tuesday, amid mounting public anger over police footage of his funeral, which his family said they were barred from attending.

Indian authorities have imposed a security clampdown within the contested Himalayan region since the death of Geelani, veteran Kashmiri separatist leader and former chief of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), last week at the age of 92.

His family says the separatist icon’s body was forcibly removed and buried within the middle of the night and his sons were kept far away from the last rites and burial.

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

Fearing protests, his grave in Indian occupied Jammu, and Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar is under armed guard, and visitors aren’t allowed.

Mufti Nasirul Islam, the foremost senior Islamic jurist in occupied Kashmir condemned the military action as “un-Islamic”.

He told AFP the body of a dead person must be respected albeit it’s a “criminal sentenced to death”.

“I think his family is hurt and therefore the people of [occupied]Kashmir are hurt. Police should apologize for doing this,” the jurist said.

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

Security forces then issued a press release saying Geelani’s sons initially agreed to a fast funeral but changed their minds “probably under the pressure from Pakistan” and “started resorting to anti-national activities”.

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

Indian authorities cut the mobile signal and therefore the internet across the occupied territory following Geelani’s death — services that have only begun returning online since Sunday.

Geelani was once head of the Hurriyat Conference, an influential coalition of Kashmir separatist groups.

The Conference announced on Tuesday that Masarat Alam Bhat, a resistance leader who has been in an Indian jail since 2010, had been named because the new head of the coalition.

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