SAR Geelani: Hunted for a lifetime and after

Photo and Text: Shaheen Abdulla

Nusrat Geelani daughter of SAR Geelani consoles her brother Seyd Atif as they prepare to leave for AIIMS New Delhi due to pressure from Delhi Police.

“ His life was Kashmir, now they( Indian government) can’t even stop it at his death” commented Sakib, a young Kashmiri in tears. He among others who came to pay last respect to SAR Geelani was shocked at the scenes in front of Fortis Hospital in Nehru Place on Thursday.

Delhi police seized the body of Prof SAR Geelani and conducted autopsy against his families will. The Body was later released to the family on Friday who took his mortal remains to Kashmir for the funeral. 

SAR Geelani’s Mortal remains taken to Ambulance. Police waited outside the Hospital to stop the family from leaving the place with his body.

Geelani, a faculty in Delhi University and an active voice for Kashmiri independence took his last breath on Thursday due to cardiac arrest. Geelani was sentenced for the death penalty by a special court in the 2001 Parliament attack but later acquitted from the charges by the supreme court. 

The Body was Stopped by police as it was shifted to the ambulance outside the hospital. In no time, dozens of police force encircled the premises and stopped the family to leave for Kashmir with the body. 

Atif Geelani inside the ambulance which was carrying the body of SAR Geelani. Atif had to negotiate with the police for hours as police stopped them from taking the body.

Police demanded the autopsy report and stopped the ambulance for three hours. When Family questioned the extraordinary procedure for a natural death. The police were reluctant to answer. 

Police Block Driver and guard the vehicle door against the bystanders and colleagues of Geelani

Though police said they would let them leave if they give a statement in writing that there was nothing suspicious about his death, the police backed off after taking the signed affidavit from Atif Geelani, son of SAR Geelani. 

Arifa, widow of Prof, Geelani, taken away from the disputes over the custody of the body. The family said it was disheartening to see him ridiculed by the state even after his death. 

Tensions grow until midnight when the family was forced to let Delhi police take charge of the situation and escort the body to Delhi AIIMS for autopsy.

“ They are scared how his body will be received in Valley” observed many who witnessed the unpleasant turn of events.

Family of Geelani questions the demand for the extraordinary procedure for an autopsy which is not required for normal death.

Geelani’s Colleagues also protested against the act of police to intervene at a sad hour and unnecessarily delay the rituals. Sources close to the family said they were devastated by the actions and called it“ disgusting and shameless”.  

Arif Pleads the police to allow the Driver to start the ambulance to switch on the freezer. The Driver Was initially blocked by the police to enter the vehicle.

“ It was a deliberate attempt to delay the funeral, as funeral after Friday prayers could have huge participation.” accused Basil Islam, A student activist.  

Atif gave a written affidavit stating that he had no suspicions over his Father’s Death which was demanded by the police. After getting hold of the document, police backed off from the deal. 

Geelani was outspoken against the witchhunt of Muslims and Kashmiris by the state of India. 

Dozens of police arrived in front of the hospital as measures to control the situation. few friends and close family were present at the scene who constantly asked the police to act considerably.

He was considered as an icon for young Kashmiris in academia. He was booked again in 2016 with charges of the seditious act for organizing an event condemning the hanging of Afzal Guru, the prime suspect in Parliament attack case.

Women consoles Nusrat who waits for the decision outside the ambulance which carries her Father’s Mortal remains.

Women consoles Nusrat who waits for the decision outside the ambulance which carries her Father’s Mortal remains.

Police were not ready to come on record but said they were ordered by higher officials. Many senior officers including ACP Vijay Singh Chandel and Pragya Anand arrived at the scene to negotiate with the family. 

This Story is visually Subjective with a perspective on the Trauma faced by the family of a demised person.

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