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EDITORIAL: That Indian administration in Illegally Occupied Kashmir would stoop so low was not in the dreams of even the worst antagonists of Narendra Modi. Under his command, the Srinagar police not only raided the late Syed Ali Geelani's residence but also assaulted his family members, including his wife. The bereaved family had planned to conduct his burial during the day time. But that did not fit in the mind of the BJP-RSS combine. Despite draconian restrictions, many mosques across the region's towns and villages made announcements of Geelani's death and urged people to come out on the streets in great numbers. Geelani was, no doubt, an emblem of Kashmiris' defiance against New Delhi's belligerence and was under house arrest at the time of his demise. He had spent almost 18 years in prison and remained under house arrest for 11 years. Since early 1990s as the freedom movement gained momentum in the held valley, he was the hero of the Kashmiri youth. He used his marvelous oratory and writing skills as the main tools to articulate Kashmiris' political aspirations. That Geelani's ideology, accession to Pakistan, had always remained unwavering is a fact.

That the Modi-led Hindutva-ridden Srinagar administration was afraid of him even after his death is a fact. In order to carry out its macabre operation the police besieged his residence, snapped the telephonic and internet services and placed barriers on roads leading to his residence. If the midnight disposal of a person of Syed Ali Geelani's stature (he had willed to be buried in the Martyrs' Graveyard but buried in a relatively unknown place) was not enough of the draconian mindset of Modi establishment the local police went a step further by registering a case against his family members under the anti-terror law. They have been accused of raising anti-India slogans and wrapping his body in the Pakistan flag.

The sad demise of iconic freedom fighter has been mourned all over the world, and has earned India severe condemnation for the way it went about to bury Syed Ali Geelani. Prime Minister Imran Khan has condemned the Indian government, tweeting that it is "just another shameful example of India's descent into fascism under the Nazi-inspired RSS-BJP government". The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) condemned the Indian government "for denying the right to choose burial rites and site for Geelani, an iconic Kashmiri leader". Geelani's political opponents, including Omar Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufi, too, have expressed sadness over the death of a person who, according to them, stood by his political ideology and commitment at tremendous cost. New Delhi is grossly mistaken to think and believe his midnight burial will help India win over the people of Kashmir. If they have not bowed down to its atrocious oppression for the last seven decades there is no chance, whatsoever, of India winning hearts and minds of Kashmiris for many more decades to come.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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