Who was Syed Ali Shah Geelani: The death of Syed Ali Shah Geelani is the end of a chapter in separatist politics
Syed Ali Shah Gilani, a three-time MLA from the then state of Jammu and Kashmir and an open supporter of Pakistan, led separatist politics for more than three decades. He has been dubbed the ‘Huttle Man’ (striker) for repeatedly calling for a bandh as a tactic to destabilize law and order in the Kashmir Valley.
Gilani, a staunch separatist leader, died at his residence in Srinagar on Wednesday night at the age of 91 after a long illness. He was buried in a mosque near his home in Hyderpora on the outskirts of the city. Some close family members were present.
The white-bearded Gilani was always poisoning India. He was one of the few leaders in the pre-partition period who never believed in moderate separatism and raised his voice against any peaceful movement during the period associated with the Hurriyat Conference. The Hurriyat Conference was a group of 26 parties formed in 1993.
Spread over more than five decades in his political career, Gilani was one of the few leaders who witnessed the crucial stages of partition, witnessing the merger of Jammu and Kashmir with India in 1947 and ending the special status of the former state in 2019.
Insisting on his ideology of merging Kashmir with Pakistan, Gilani has been imprisoned several times since the outbreak of terrorism in 1990.
With the strengthening of electoral politics since the 1996 election, Gilani’s role became more radical, resulting in the split of the Hurriyat Conference in 2003. He then formed his own Tehreek-e-Hurriyat. The reason was that he did not want to show himself near New Delhi.
The hardline leader suffered a major setback in 2002 when the Income Tax Department raided his residence and claimed to have recovered an undisclosed $ 10,000 in cash, excluding a diamond-studded watch gifted by the Pakistani government. He was arrested and sent to Jharkhand Jail, where his condition deteriorated and he was shifted to a hospital in Mumbai. He was later released for health reasons. It has an income tax liability of Rs 1.73 crore and more than Rs 14 lakh from the Enforcement Directorate.
Gilani led the agitation when the then state government proposed to allow the construction of a temporary structure for the annual pilgrimage site after the Amarnath land blockade in 200 pilg. He was soon seen as the ‘Strike Man’ for disrupting the situation in the valley.
He reiterated his call for a strike during the 2009 agitation in Shopiana, where the bodies of two women were found in a ditch. She was initially accused of being raped and killed by security guards, which was not true as the postmortem report revealed that she had drowned in the nala. However, Gilani held her for about 45 days.
In 2010, Gilani repeated the 2008 performance and led the protest after a youth was killed by tear gas in the Kashmir Valley.
Gilani had refused to open his doors to a parliamentary delegation visiting the Kashmir Valley. The valley was affected by Gilani’s strike following the death of Burhan Wani, a poster boy for the banned terrorist organization Hizbul Mujahideen.
Gilani criticized the civil society for playing with children’s careers and repeatedly called for a shutdown, which had a detrimental effect on the education system as well as the tourism sector. Tourism was the main source of livelihood for many people in the Kashmir Valley.
Gilani was often angry at Pakistan for building healthy relations with India. Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf disagreed with his four-point plan to resolve the Kashmir dispute in New Delhi in 2005.
Former RAW chief and then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s special duty officer A.S. Dulat had called Gilani the “father of jihad” in his book on Kashmir.
Gilani’s call for a boycott of the elections also had no effect, and the turnout increased after the 2002 elections.
Suffering from a number of ailments and being sidelined by Pakistan, Gilani said goodbye to Hurriyat politics in June 2020, saying that in 2019, under the leadership of the second generation, the Center abolished most of the provisions of Article 370. Not properly opposed.
In the last 18 months, Gilani’s condition deteriorated and he suffered from dementia after being fitted with a pacemaker and having his kidney removed.
Gilani’s son-in-law Altaf Ahmed Shah and fundamentalist Masrat Alam, who was at the forefront of carrying forward Gilani’s legacy of separatist politics, are currently being prosecuted by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) for financing various terrorists. Clothes from Kashmir Valley are in jail.
Born on 29 September 1929, Gilani graduated from Oriental College, Lahore and worked as a teacher for a few years before joining Jamaat-e-Islami. Jamaat-e-Islami is now banned.
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