Police in India-administered Kashmir have opened a case against the family members of late resistance leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani under a harsh anti-terror law for allegedly raising anti-India slogans and wrapping his body in the Pakistani flag, informed officials. Geelani, 91, who
died on Wednesday, was the emblem of Kashmir’s defiance against New Delhi and had been under house arrest for years. The officials confirmed that the case was opened on Sunday. His son, Naseem, claim that the Indian authorities buried Geelani’s body in a local cemetery without any family members present after police snatched his body from the home. Police denied that and called it “baseless rumours”
by “some vested interests”.
A video widely shared on social media purportedly showed Geelani’s relatives, mostly women, frantically trying to prevent armed police from forcing their way into the room where his body was kept wrapped in a Pakistani flag. The video showed women wailing and screaming as
police took the body and locked his family and relatives inside the room.
Police informed that they registered a case against unspecified family members and some others on Saturday and began probing the case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act or UAPA. They have not yet been taken into custody. In India, booking of a case by the police may not necessarily lead to a formal charge but is an incident that is officially recorded. Critics say bookings under the vaguely worded UAPA legislation have been used across the country to intimidate or silence opposing voices, calling the law draconian. The anti-terror law was amended in 2019 to allow the government to designate an individual as a terrorist.
Police can detain a person for six months without producing any evidence, and the accused can subsequently be imprisoned for up to seven years. Geelani’s son Naseem on Sunday said a police officer visited the family on Saturday and informed them a case had been registered. Naseem did not provide further details about the meeting but said there were scuffles as the police removed his father’s body.
“Amid the chaos, we didn’t really know what was happening. We were mourning,” said Naseem.
Kashmir has long been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan, which administer parts of the Himalayan region while claiming it entirely. Nation.