UN Inquest to Find the Death of Kashmiri Leader Syed Ali Geelani

September 12, 2021

Chairman of the Kashmir Parliamentary Committee Shehryar Khan Afridi wrote letters to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) High Commissioner Michelle Jeria on Friday, calling for an impartial but immediate UN investigation into the detention death of Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, the violation of his body, and the filing of criminal cases against his family members.

Mr. Afridi told reporters after delivering the letters to the United Nations Military Observers Group in Pakistan (UNMOGIP) that the UN secretary general must order an immediate investigation into the detention of Syed Ali Geelani, which is part of a series of detentions of Kashmiri leaders. Senator Sarfraz Bugti, a member of the committee, and Hurriyat Conference leaders Faiz Naqshbandi and Farooq Rehmani were also present.

“Under the guise of the Covid-19 pandemic, Hurriyat leaders are being killed in prison by India’s illegal occupation regime in Jammu and Kashmir. Geelani’s life could have been saved if the UN had investigated the death in custody of Ashraf Khan Sehrai. We now fear that other detained Kashmiri leaders, including the new APHC chief, Syed Shabbir Shah, Yasin Malik, Asiya Andrabi, Dr Qasim Faktu, and others, will be killed in the same manner,” he said.

Mr. Geelani is the second high-profile victim of a plan to kill all top iconic pro-freedom Kashmiri leaders, according to Mr. Afridi, who also claimed that Mr. Geelani’s long-time performance with potential or desired and successor, Tehreek-i-Hurriyat Chairman Mohammad Ashraf Khan Sehrai, was killed in custody earlier this year. He was imprisoned on India’s mainland, where Covid-19 was surging and millions were dying.

“This loss may obstruct the Kashmiri people’s voice and jeopardize their long fight for freedom. “I would also like to draw attention to the manner in which Mr. Geelani’s death was managed by the occupying Indian government, which shut down the internet across the Kashmir valley and upgraded security forces as word of his death spread,” he said. Jammu and Kashmir police snatched Mr. Geelani’s body from his family members hours after he died, denying the grieving family the authority to hold a funeral for a resistance leader who once could call up thousands of people to protest.

“As this wasn’t enough, the Indian Illegally Occupied regime in Jammu and Kashmir has charged Syed Ali Geelani’s family members under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for opposing the Indian forces’ attempt to take Mr. Geelani’s body. Despite the fact that UAPA is an anti-terrorism law, the Indian regime has been misusing it against civilians and human rights activists. Mr. Geelani’s family is the most recent victim of this law.

“Against this backdrop, we fear that Kashmiri voices will be distorted even further, and that jailed Kashmiri leaders will be killed in the same manner. “How will the Kashmiri people exercise their fundamental rights of free expression, hold the government accountable, and channel critical information on human rights violations in the valley in the absence of their fast-disappearing leaders?” he added.

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