Top Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, 92, has passed away at his home in Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir.
Family sources told Gulf News that the elderly leader breathed his last at around 10.30pm Indian Standard Time (IST) on Wednesday.
As one of Kashmir’s most high profile leaders, he was often seen as an important stakeholder in the region’s complex political mix.
“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 headed the hardline fraction of Hurriyat. In 2003 he founded his own party Tehreek-e-Hurriyat and was instrumental in spearheading the restive province’s resistance politics for decades.
Geelani was under house arrest for the last several years.
Fearing a law and order situation following the news of Geelani’s death, authorities in Kashmir have imposed strict restrictions and suspended the internet services in the valley.
He was buried in Srinagar’s Hyderpora area with only a handful of relatives and close neighbours allowed to attend the final rites, which was held pre-dawn on Thursday.
Update: The authorities in Kashmir have closed all the roads heading to Geelani’s residence in Srinagar. Both Internet and mobile services were cut across the Kashmir valley during the previous night.
Local media reported that Geelani’s final rites were completed around 4.30 a.m.