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Clampdown following Geelani’s death continues in Kashmir for second day

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The clampdown imposed on movement and communications following separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s death continued in Kashmir for a second day on Friday. Police said no major incident of violence has been reported even as there were some stone-throwing incidents in old Srinagar. Additional troops were deployed on Friday. A police spokesperson said the restrictions and internet shutdown will continue and that a review of the situation will take place on Friday afternoon to decide how long the clampdown will continue.

Geelani, the face of separatism in Kashmir for over three decades, died on Wednesday after a prolonged illness at 91. The separatist leader, who spent around two decades in jail, was largely confined to his residence because of ill-health since 2010. Geelani was on Thursday buried in a quiet funeral at a graveyard near his residence in Srinagar’s Hyderpora around 4.30am with his family alleging that the police forcibly took away his body.

The police action was likely prompted to avoid a mass gathering, which may have turned restive or violent.

As soon as the news of Geelani’s death broke, authorities enhanced security across the Valley. Hundreds of security personnel patrolled streets, put up barricades, and sealed key roads to restrict the movement of people in the clampdown similar to the one imposed after the nullification of the region’s semi-autonomous status in 2019. Shops and businesses were shuttered while the movement of vehicles was restricted. Internet connections and mobile networks were snapped and even journalists were prevented from covering the funeral. Only the post-paid mobiles of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited were working.

Paramilitary forces were deployed across Kashmir and all the roads leading to Hyderpora were sealed. Officials said additional troops were deployed, especially in Srinagar’s old city and north Kashmir including Geelani’s hometown Sopore.

Vijay Kumar, inspector general (Kashmir), announced restrictions late Wednesday night as a preventive measure. Officials said police had been conducting mock drills related to Geelani’s funeral as his condition worsened.


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