Veteran Kashmiri separatist leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, known for his hardline views, passed away late on Wednesday in Srinagar city. He was 92.
Geelani passed away at his uptown Hyderpora residence at around 10.30 p.m., family sources said.
He is survived by two sons and four daughters.
Born on September 29, 1929, and having finished his studies at the Oriental College in Lahore, Geelani had, since his youth, been a prominent member of the Jamaat-e-Islami. He had always stood for merger of J&K with Pakistan.
He himself had fought and won assembly polls from north Kashmir’s Sopore constituency in 1972, 1977, and 1987.
Considered to be a hawk among the separatists, he opposed all Track II talks between Delhi and the Kashmiri separatist leadership.
Chairman of the separatist conglomerate, All Party Hurriyat Conference, he split it in 2003 after accusing some of its constituents of fielding dummy candidates in the state Assembly elections that year.
Geelani had also opposed the then Pakistan President, General Pervez Musharraf’s 4-point formula on Kashmir.
In 2008, he founded his own party which he called Tehreek-e-Hurriyat.
In house arrest since 2008, he had, in 2016, refused to open doors for the all party delegation that came from Delhi to meet him.
Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was the first to condole his demise.
“Saddened by the news of Geelani Sahab’s passing away. We may not have agreed on most things but I respect him for his steadfastness & standing by his belief. May Allah Ta’aala grant him jannat & condolences to his family & well wishers,” Mehbooba said in a Twitter message.
Meanwhile, authorities have imposed restrictions in the Kashmir Valley, including suspension of internet services.