Syed Ali Shah Geelani, face of Kashmiri resistance movement, dies at 92

Syed Ali Shah Geelani shouts slogans at a rally in Srinagar on April 10, 2009 [File:Danish Ismail/Reuters]

Syed Ali Shah Geelani, one of the most prominent figures in the Kashmiri resistance movement the leader of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat, has died at the age of 92.

Family sources said Geelani died at around 10.30 pm Wednesday. Geelani lived the final decade of his life under imprisonment in his own home even as he suffered from multiple serious ailments.

“Saddened by the news of Geelani sahab’s passing away. We may not have agreed on most things but I respect him for his steadfastness & standing by his beliefs. May Allah Ta’aala grant him jannat & condolences to his family & well wishers,” former Chief Minister and People’s Democratic Party leader Mehbooba Mufti has tweeted.

Geelani was previously a member of Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir but later on founded Tehreek-e-Hurriyat. He has served as the chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference.

In June, Geelani resigned as chief of the Hurriyat Conference, complaining that constituents of the amalgam failed to lead the people after the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, “overstepped the limits”, and tried to “create a parallel structure.”

The Kashmir leader was born in a town Sopore Baramulla, North Kashmir, on 29 September 1929. He was educated at Sopore, and finished his studies at the Oriental College, Lahore.

Geelani who pursued his pro-freedom calls as a member of the Kashmir assembly, was an MLA from the Sopore constituency of Jammu and Kashmir in 1972, 1977 and in 1987.

The veteran politician was jailed for nearly 10 years after 1962 and often restricted to his home after that. Geelani stood for the right of self-determination of Kashmiris but advocated the position of union with Pakistan.