SRINAGAR — The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has sought a detailed report from the Jammu and Kashmir Police on the burial of former Hurriyat chairman and senior pro-freedom leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who passed away while under house arrest on September 1 in Srinagar.
Quoting an unnamed senior police official, The Hindu reported on Sunday that a report was being prepared on the ‘sequence of events’ between 10:30 p.m. on September 1 and 5 a.m. on September 2 — the time period when the final rites of Geelani took place in Srinagar’s Hyderpora area under heavy military and police presence.
The report is being sought after a Geneva-based rights organisation has raised the issue of Geelani’s burial with the Indian government.
According to his family, policemen barged into their house in Hyderpora and the room where Geelani’s body lay at around 2 a.m. on September 2, took away the body forcibly and buried it in haste against the wishes of the family.
The family also claimed the two sons of Geelani — Naeem Geelani and Naseem Geelani — were not allowed to take part in the last rites, which included ablution and burial.
However, the police have refuted the charges and released a series of videos that showed the ablution and the burial of the Hurriyat leader being carried out by some civilians and policemen. There are no independent pictures of the funeral as photojournalists were barred from covering the event.
Police sources said the J&K Police had prepared a ‘G-Plan’ — a burial plan for Geelani several years ago — to ensure that the funeral prayers do not turn into a major event. The police had also worked out a ‘security corridor’ up to the graveyard.
The police seemed indecisive till the last moment on whether to bury Geelani at Mazar-e-Shuhada (Martyrs’ Graveyard) as per his wish or at his native place of Dooru in Sopore or in Hyderpora Srinagar, the current residence of Geelani.
Even 10 days after his death, the cemetery on the Srinagar airport road near Hyderpora continues to have heavy deployment of police and CRPF, with round-the-clock guard. It remains out of bounds for scribes and photojournalists. According to locals, the mosque situated adjacent to the graveyard has also been closed for Friday prayers over the last two weeks.