Kashmir continues to be banned after the dying of the anti-India chief | World information
SRINAGAR, India (AP) – Indian authorities enforced a security lockdown and an almost complete communications blackout for a second consecutive day in controversial Kashmir on Friday following the death of Syed Ali Geelani, a leading resistance leader who has become the emblem of the region’s resistance against New Delhi.
Geelani’s death at the age of 91 late Wednesday and the ensuing crackdown on public movement and communication by Indian authorities highlighted the unrest that simmers just below the surface in the Himalayan region of painfully breathtaking beauty.
Armed police and paramilitary soldiers wearing body armor and riot gear patrolled the streets in Srinagar, the region’s capital, and ordered residents to stay inside.
Barbed wire, steel barricades and armored vehicles parked vertically blocked streets and streets in the city as officials anticipated anti-India protests after the community’s weekly Friday prayers.
With multiple illnesses and years of house arrest, Geelani was buried by Indian authorities without family members present after police tore his body away early Thursday, his son Naseem Geelani said.
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Police issued a statement denying the forcible burial of Geelani, calling them “baseless rumors” of “some legitimate interests”.
Pakistan, India’s arch-rival who administers part of Himalayan Kashmir, held a day of mourning Thursday condemning Geelani’s private funeral.
Geelani led Kashmir’s movement for the right to self-determination and was a staunch supporter of Kashmir’s amalgamation with Pakistan. For many in Kashmir and beyond, he was an enduring icon of resistance to India. Successive Indian governments often called him a hard-line politician.
Kashmir has long been a focal point between India and Pakistan, both of which claim the region in full but control only parts of it.
Rebels have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989.
India describes the armed rebellion as Islamabad’s proxy war and state sponsored terrorism. Most Muslim Kashmiris consider it a legitimate struggle for freedom and support the rebels’ goal of unifying the territory, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country.
The region is one of the most militarized in the world. Tens of thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces were killed in the angry conflict.
Tensions in the region flared in 2019 after New Delhi stripped Kashmir’s semi-autonomy, abolished statehood, and lifted inherited land and job safeguards. Since then, the authorities have passed a series of new laws that many critics and Kashmiris compare to the beginning of settler colonialism.
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