Srinagar, September 02 (KMS): In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the towering Kashmiri Hurriyat leader and face of Kashmir resistance movement, Syed Ali Gilani, embraced martyrdom after remaining in 12 years’ Indian detention in Srinagar, last night. He was 92.
Despite suffering from multiple ailments, Syed Ali Gilani continued to remain under house arrest for so many years that took heavy toll on his health. In 2015, Indian government had declared his Hyderpora residence as sub jail and imposed restrictions on his free movement and freedom of speech, which remained in force till his death. He developed serious complications on Wednesday afternoon and breathed his last in the night.
Soon after the news of Syed Ali Gilani’s demise spread, announcements were made from mosques in Srinagar asking people to come out of their homes to pay homage to the iconic leader. However, when millions of residents of the Kashmir Valley woke up in the morning, they witnessed a strict curfew and communication blackout. The Kashmir valley had been converted into a new ‘Guantanamo Bay, with the deployment of thousands of additional Indian troops and police personnel to bar a sea of people from thronging the Hyderpora residence of the Kashmiri leader to attend his funeral.
It would have been, analysts say, the largest funeral gathering in the history of Jammu and Kashmir had India not forced people to stay indoors at gunpoint. As the dead body was wrapped in Pakistani flag and the mourners started chanting pro-freedom and pro-Pakistan slogans like ‘We Want Freedom’, ‘Hum Pakistani Hain Aur Pakistan Hamara Hai’, a heavy contingent of Indian forces’ personnel raided the residence, tortured the family members and snatched the dead body by force. In the course of resistance, Syed Ali Gilani’s son Dr Nayeem and his wife were injured in police torture. The forces’ personnel took away with the body for burial at Hyderpora graveyard in Srinagar under heavy military siege in the dark of night in violation of the last will of Syed Ali Gilani, who according to his family, wanted to be buried at Martyrs Graveyard, Eid Gah in Srinagar.
Born in Sopore town of Baramulla district on 29 September 1929, Syed Ali Gilani received his early education from his hometown, and finished his studies at the Oriental College, Lahore. The veteran leader strived for the cause of freedom of Kashmir from Indian illegal occupation all along his life. He remained at the forefront of the Kashmiris’ struggle for right to self-determination, first, from the platform of Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir, and later from his own party by the name of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Jammu and Kashmir. He led the All Parties Hurriyat Conference for many years. He was a staunch opponent of Indian illegal occupation of his motherland, and in turn spent many years in different Indian jails. Syed Ali Gilani remained passionate advocate of Jammu and Kashmir’s accession to Pakistan and it was he who coined the famous slogan ‘Hum Pakistani Hain, Pakistan Hamara Ha’. In recognition of his decades-old struggle for Kashmiris’ right to self-determination, he was conferred Nishan-i-Pakistan, the country’s highest civil award by President Dr Arif Alvi, last year.
The All Parties Hurriyat Conference and other Hurriyat leaders and organizations and Washington-based World Kashmir Awareness Forum in their statements paid rich tributes to the towering Kashmiri leader, Syed Ali Gilani. They appealed to the people of IIOJK, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, people of Pakistan, Kashmiri Diaspora and whole Muslim Ummah, to offer prayers in absentia for the veteran leader, Syed Ali Gilani, tomorrow.
Funerals in absentia were offered for Syed Ali Gilani at Parliament House Islamabad and other places in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir, today. President Dr Arif Alvi, AJK Prime Minister Sardar Abdul Qayyum Niazi and people from all walks of life including Hurriyat leaders participated in the funeral.