Syed Ali Shah Geelani
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Syed Ali Shah Geelani
|All Parties Hurriyat Conference(G)|
|Born||29 September 1929|
Bandipora, Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu and Kashmir (princely state)
|Alma mater||Punjab University, Lahore, Punjab Province|
Oriental College, Lahore, Punjab Province
Syed Ali Shah Geelani (born 29 September 1929) is a Kashmiri separatist Hurriyat leader. He was previously a member of Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir but later on founded his own party by the name of Tehreek-e-Hurriyat. He has served as the chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference, a conglomerate of separatist parties in Jammu and Kashmir. He was an MLA from the Sopore constituency of Jammu and Kashmir three times (1972,1977 and 1987).
Geelani has been viewed as a key separatist leader in Kashmir. Omar Abdullah, former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, has blamed Geelani for the rise in militancy and bloodshed in Kashmir, while Omar's father and former Union Minister Farooq Abdullah has urged Geelani to follow a path which would "save Kashmiri people from further destruction". In October 2013 he was re-elected for the fourth time to serve three-year term as the chairman of Hurriyat Conference (G), a faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference, which split up in 2003. He founded the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat party, to which he was separately reelected as chairman for a three-year term in September 2013.
Syed Ali Shah Geelani received the invitation to participate in the annual meeting of the "foreign ministers" of "member states" of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the "Kashmir contact group" to be held in New York from 27 September 2015.
After the death of Burhan Muzaffar Wani and the ongoing 2016 Kashmir Unrest that lasted for five consecutive months, to restore normalcy in Kashmir, Geelani sent a letter to United Nations listing six Confidence Building measures (CBMS).
On 29 November 2010, Geelani, along with writer Arundhati Roy, Maoist Varavara Rao and three others, was charged under "sections 124A (sedition), 153A (promoting enmity between classes), 153B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration), 504 (insult intended to provoke breach of peace) and 505 (false statement, rumour circulated with intent to cause mutiny or offence against public peace...) to be read with Section 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act of 1967". The charges, which carried a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, were the result of a self-titled seminar they gave in New Delhi, "Azadi-the Only Way" on 21 October, at which Geelani was heckled.
Geelani had appealed to people of Kashmir to boycott the 2014 Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly elections completely, not accepting the proposals for self-rule or autonomy that had been offered by the People's Democratic Party and the then ruling National Conference. But despite of repeated boycott appeals, 2014 assembly election recorded record voter's turnout of more than 65% which was highest in 25 years of history . After record voting percentage in Kashmir, Geelani, along with other separatists, were criticised by "biased" Indian media for misleading people of Kashmir and for not representing true sentiments of Kashmiri people.
Geelani lives in Hyderpora Srinagar, Kashmir with his wife Jawahira Begum. Both his elder son Nayeem & his daughter in law were doctors in Rawalpindi, Pakistan but returned to India in 2010. His second son, Zahoor, lives in New Delhi. Izhaar, his grandson, is a crew member of a private airliner in India, while his daughter Farhat is a teacher in Jeddah. His other grandchildren are studying in leading schools of India. His cousin Ghulam Nabi Fai is presently in London.
Health issues, passport suspension and house arrest
Geelani's passport was seized in 1981 due to accusations of "anti-India" activities. With the exception of his Hajj pilgrimage in 2006, he has not been allowed to leave India.[needs update] He was diagnosed with renal cancer, and advised treatment from abroad in the same year. On the then Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention, the government returned Geelani's passport to his son. In 2007, his condition worsened, although in the early stages of the cancer, it was life-threatening and surgery was advised. Geelani was set to travel to either the UK or the United States. However, his visa request was rejected by the American government citing his violent approach in Kashmir conflict and he went to Mumbai for surgery. His supporters and family alleged that this was a "human rights violation".
On 6 March 2014, Geelani fell ill with a severe chest infection, shortly after returning to his home in Srinagar. He has been under house arrest for most of the time since 2010, and was put under house arrest again on his return. In May 2015, Geelani applied for passport to visit his daughter in Saudi Arabia. The Indian government withheld it citing technical reasons, including the fact that he deliberately failed to fill in the nationality column required in the application. On 21 July, the Government granted him a passport on humanitarian grounds, with a validity of nine months, after Geelani acknowledged his nationality as an Indian.
On 12 March 2014, rumors of Geelani's death, spread by edits to his Wikipedia entry, "a particular Hindi news channel", and pages on Facebook led the government of Kashmir to suspend internet and phone service, according to some sources. However, the then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said that the failures had nothing to do with Geelani's health and were due to a snapped power line as well as an optical fibre cut due to heavy snowfall, which left most of the valley without power. The cuts in Internet service, hours after a statement by Hurriyat that Geelani would be flown to New Delhi for medical treatment, were blamed for spreading the rumours.
After the 2019 Pulwama attack, India took stronger action against pro-Pakistan separatists including Geelani. The Enforcement Directorate levied a penalty of ₹14.40 lakh and ordered confiscation of nearly ₹6.8 lakh in connection with a FEMA case against him for illegal possession of foreign exchange.
In February 2014 he said prisoners in Kashmir "are the victims of custodial violence and are harassed in Indian Jails especially in Tihar Jail" after an incident where parents of Javaid Ahmad Khan, serving a life sentence, "had travelled thousands of kilometres and invested a lot of money to reach Delhi to meet their jailed son but oppressors denied them a meeting with him. "This is state terrorism", he said.
In November 2011, Geelani called for peaceful protests against the alleged "objectionable anti-Islamic" content on the social networking website Facebook, which he described as a "satanic audacity". His call triggered protests in various parts of the Kashmir valley, leading to minor clashes between the protestors and the security forces.
Geelani condemned the killing of Osama Bin Laden by the US. After Bin Laden's death in May 2011, Geelani said that he will lead last rite prayers in absentia in Srinagar for the slain al-Qaeda leader. After holding prayers for Osama in congregation of thousands of Kashmiris, a European Union delegation snubbed Geelani by cancelling a scheduled meeting with him. He further supported 2001 Indian Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru and one of 2008 Mumbai Attacks mastermind and Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed.
Geelani says that while Pakistan supported "the indigenous struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, morally, diplomatically and politically ... this does not mean Pakistan can take a decision on our behalf."
Geelani would only support a dialogue process aimed at resolving Kashmir issue in accordance with the wishes and aspirations of the people of the state. But he believes that dialogue between India and Pakistan starts under diplomatic compulsions, and it is nothing but just a time delaying tactics. He is of the opinion that Kashmirs are not enemies of India or hold any grudge against its inhabitants. We are desirous of a strong India and Pakistan and it is only possible when Kashmir issue is resolved to pave the way for peace, prosperity and development in the region.
He said, "Kashmir is not any border dispute between India and Pakistan which they can solve by bilateral understandings. It is the issue concerning future of 15 million people. The Hurriyat is not in principle against a dialogue process but without involvement of Kashmiri people, such a process has proved meaningless in the past. We don’t have any expectations of it being fruitful in future too." He further stated, "India should immediately and unconditionally release political prisoners, and withdraw cases against youth, which are pending in the courts for the past 20 years."
Separatism and relations with Pakistan
Geelani has been repeatedly criticised by Indian authorities for inciting violence in the region and working as offshoot of Pakistan. Geelani says openly that he is not Indian. "Travelling on the Indian passport is a compulsion of every Kashmiri as Kashmir is an Internationally accepted Disputed region between India and Pakistan" are his words when applying for Indian Passport. "We are Pakistani; Pakistan is ours," he said in a big gathering of his supporters.
Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, a senior leader of Jammu & Kashmir National Conference and son of Sheikh Abdullah criticised Geelani for working on "dictations" given by Pakistan. He accused Geelani of being "a double agent" on "the payroll of Pakistan's ISI".
Pakistan also openly supported Geelani, the three-member delegation from Pakistan High Commission led by Abdul Basit met Geelani at his Malviya Nagar residence in March 2015, Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit assured Geelani of complete support conveying that the country's stand on Kashmir remains unchanged despite regime change in New Delhi. Basit also invited Geelani for Pakistan Day function on 23 March. Pakistan High Commission in New Delhi, ritually invites pro-separatist leadership of Jammu and Kashmir.
Some of his works include:
- Rūdād-i qafas, 1993. Author's memoirs of his imprisonment.
- Navā-yi ḥurriyyat, 1994. Collection of letters, columns and interviews on Kashmir issue.
- Dīd o shunīd, 2005. Compilation based on answers to the various questions relating to Kashmir issue.
- Bhārat ke istiʻmārī ḥarbe! : Kurālah Gunḍ se Jodhpūr tak!, 2006. Autobiographical reminiscences with special reference to his struggle for the liberation of Kashmir.
- Sadāʼe dard : majmuvʻah taqārīr, 2006. Collection of speeches on Kashmir issue.
- Millat-i maz̤lūm, 2006. Collection of articles and columns on various issues of Jammu and Kashmir with special reference to autonomy and independence movements of Kashmir.
- Safar-i Maḥmūd z̲ikr-i maẓlūm, 2007. Compilation based on answers to the various questions relating to Kashmir issue.
- Maqtal se vāpsī : Rāncī jail ke shab o roz, 2008. Autobiographical reminiscences.
- Iqbāl rūḥ-i dīn kā shanāsā, 2009. Study on the works of Muhammad Iqbal.
- ʻĪdain, 2011. Collection of sermons delivered on the occasion of Eid ul Fitr, Eid ul Adha, and Friday prayers.
- Vullar kināre : āp bītī, 2012. Autobiography.
- Asiya Andrabi
- Hurriyat and Problems before Plebiscite
- Pakistan and state-sponsored terrorism
- Joint Resistance Leadership
- Asad Hashim. "Profile: Syed Ali Shah Geelani". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- "Syed Ali Shah Geelani emerging as most powerful separatist in Kashmir - Times of India". indiatimes.com. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "Sopore Election 2014, Results, Candidate List and winner of Sopore Assembly (Vidhan Sabha) Constituency, Jammu And Kashmir". elections.in. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "Masarat Alam: Successor to Geelani with 'anti-India sentiment'". Hindustantimes.com. 10 March 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- Indian police arrest Syed Ali Geelani in Kashmir, Dawn, 8 September 2010.
- "Farooq, Omar lash out at Geelani". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 29 April 2007.
- "Farooq asks Geelani to adopt a path which can save people". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 8 September 2007. Archived from the original on 12 September 2007.
- "All Parties Hurriyat Conference". South Asia Terrorism Portal. 2014.
- "Geelani re-elected Hurriyat (G) chairman". Rising Kashmir. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014.
- "Partial shutdown in Kashmir against Lolab killings". 28 February 2014.
- "Hurriyat calls for shutdown on Sunday against Naidkhai killing". Authint Mail. 15 March 2014.
- "Syed Ali Shah Geelani decides to participate in OIC meet in New York". intoday.in. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "Repeal AFSPA, release prisoners for peace and resolution, says Geelani". intoday.in. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "Kashmir unrest: Syed Ali Shah Geelani lists measures for return of peace - Firstpost". firstpost.com. 17 July 2016. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "Separatist leader Geelani asks UN, world to intervene over Kashmir violence". hindustantimes.com. 17 July 2016. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- Kujal Majumder. "Sedition FIR puts Delhi Police in a tough spot". Tehelka.com.
- Press Trust of India (29 November 2010). "Sedition case registered against Arundhati Roy, Geelani". NDTV.
- Manoj Mitta (5 December 2013). "Judge ignores key ruling in Roy sedition case". Times of India.
- Ishfaq Tantry (1 April 2014). "Kashmir: To Vote Or Not To Vote Is The Question". Free Press Kashmir. Archived from the original on 6 April 2014.
- "Syed Ali Shah Geelani's J&K election boycott call resonates in his hometown Sopore". in.com. 3 December 2014. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "Jammu and Kashmir registers highest voter turnout in 25 years, Jharkhand breaks records". deccanchronicle.com. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "J&K polls: 76 percent voter turnout recorded in the final phase". in.com. 20 December 2014. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "Jammu and Kashmir Registers Highest Voter Turnout in 25 Years, Jharkhand Breaks Records". ndtv.com. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- Marianne Heiberg; Brendan O'Leary; John Tirman (2007). Terror, Insurgency, and the State: Ending Protracted Conflicts. University of Pennsylvania Press. pp. 415–. ISBN 0-8122-3974-1.
In India itself, Bose reports that the media are largely self-censoring with regards to the Kashmir conflict. The main media outlets have made no serious attempt to present a balanced account of the issue. The general coverage is very pro-government. The government is primarily concerned with regulating and limiting the flow of information to the Indian public on the conflict, and media stories critical of government's policies can provoke a serious reaction. One journalist from the Times of India filed a story highlighting abuse of the electoral system in Kashmir-reporting that large numbers of people were forced to vote at gunpoint. As the editors were absent, the story was included in the following day's issue. The journalist was recalled immediately from Kashmir by the paper and then forced to write a follow-up story denying the claims made in the previous piece. Thus, while there is no official censorship, self-censorship combined with occasional government pressure, results in very biased and controlled coverage of the conflict.
- "High Voter Turnout in Jammu & Kashmir Assembly Elections: A Debilitating Blow to Separatists and Resilient Boost for Indian Democracy". eptoday.com. 5 December 2014. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "J&K polls: Valley opts for ballot over bullet with 71 percent voting in first phase". indianexpress.com. 25 November 2014. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "Ballot over bullet: Brisk voting in J&K and Jharkhand showcases faith in democracy". indiatimes.com. 26 November 2014. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "A day in the life of Kashmiri separatist".
- "As Valley kids suffer, separatists' wards thrive in safe havens". The Tribune. 19 September 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- "Ailing Kashmiri separatist". Gulf Times. Archived from the original on 14 June 2008.
- "Geelani refuses to use govt's chopper". Kashmir Dispatch. 12 January 2013.
- "Cancer-hit Geelani awaits". India News. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007.
- "US visa denial is rights violation". India eNews.
- "Geelani flies to Delhi for treatment". Business Recorder. 14 March 2014.
- Kainaat Mushtaq (10 March 2014). "Is Ailing Geelani Leading Face Of Kashmir's Separatist Campaign?". Free Kashmir. Archived from the original on 15 March 2014.
- "http://paktribune.com/news/Syed-Ali-Shah-Geelani-ailing-to-be-flown-to-Delhi-267505.html". Pak Tribune. 13 March 2014. External link in
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- "Geelani's passport plea after formalities completed: Rajnath". Kashmir Times. 22 May 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
- "Geelani's 'incomplete' passport application cannot be processed: MEA". Indian Express. 22 May 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2015.
- "Govt issues passport with 9 months validity to Hurriyat chief Syed Ali Shah Geelani - Firstpost". firstpost.com. 22 July 2015. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "Govt issues passport to Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani". The Times of India. 22 July 2015. Retrieved on 2 February 2017.
- Peerzada Ashiq (12 March 2014). "Wikipedia declares Geelani dead, sends Kashmir admn into tizzy". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 13 March 2014.
- "Geelani Sahab stable, Don't give heed to rumours". KashmirWatch. 12 March 2014. Archived from the original on 12 March 2014.
- "Wikipedia entry sparks rumors of Geelani's death; Govt responds by curtailing mobile internet". Authint Mail. 12 March 2014.
- Naseer Ganai (13 January 2014). "Geelani's bad health sparks conspiracy rumours across Kashmir as communication lines falter". India Today.
- Bashirat Masood (13 March 2014). "Internet outage spurs rumour of Geelani's death". The Indian Express.
- "'Few Inches' Of Snow Exposed Government, Says PDP, CPI(M)". Kashmir Life. 12 March 2014. Archived from the original on 15 March 2014.
- "Geelani, Malik condemn misbehaviour of Tihar jail officials". Kashmir Times. 15 February 2014.
- Mehmood Ur Rashid (15 March 2014). "GEELANI: Before and Beyond".
- "Hurriyat (G) says Jama'at claims unethical". Kashmir Observer. 15 March 2014. Archived from the original on 15 March 2014.
- M Saleem Pandit (18 November 2011). "Protests in Kashmir against 'blasphemy' on Facebook". The Times of India. Retrieved 21 November 2011.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 8 May 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Osama dead: Tehreek-e-Hurriyat chairman Syed Geelani to lead last rite prayers for Osama bin Laden - timesofindia-economictimes". Articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com. 6 May 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- "Hurriyat Conference's Syed Ali Shah Geelani calls for funeral prayers for Osama bin Laden - The Times of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 5 May 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- Muzaffar Raina (17 May 2011). "The Telegraph - Calcutta (Kolkata) | Nation | EU Osama snub to Geelani". Telegraphindia.com. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- "EU delegation snubs Geelani; cancels scheduled meeting". Hindustantimes.com. 15 May 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- "'Prayers for Osama': EU delegation snubs Geelani, cancels meeting - Indian Express". Archive.indianexpress.com. 15 May 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- "Geelani expresses displeasure over ban on Hafiz Saeed's group - Latest Kashmir News & Analysis". Kashmir Dispatch. 24 January 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- "Will support talks if it resolves Kashmir issue: Geelani - Rediff.com India News". Rediff.com. 20 March 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- "APHC to support dialogue if sacrifices of Kashmiris honored: Geelani". SABAH News. 20 June 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- "India should accept five conditions on Kashmir: Geelani | Business Standard News". Business-standard.com. 23 March 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- "Protests outside Pakistani high commission as separatist leaders Yasin Malik and Syed Ali Shah Geelani meet envoy Abdul Basit - Times of India". indiatimes.com. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "'Not Indian by birth, passport a compulsion': Govt slams Geelani's 'separatist jargon' - Firstpost". firstpost.com. 5 June 2015. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "After 'I am not an Indian by birth' comment, Geelani calls for anti-India seminar in Srinagar - Firstpost". firstpost.com. 9 June 2015. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "Account Suspended". paknationalists.com. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "Geelani on ISI Payroll: NC Leader". outlookindia.com. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "Geelani on payroll of ISI, says NC leader". bhaskar.com. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "Geelani on payroll of ISI, says NC leader". in.com. 16 July 2012. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- Dawn.com, (9 March 2015). "Pakistani high commissioner meets Hurriyat leader Geelani". dawn.com. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "Pakistan assures Syed Ali Geelani of complete support | Latest News & Updates at Daily News & Analysis". dnaindia.com. 10 March 2015. Retrieved on 23 July 2016.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Syed Ali Shah Geelani's profile on WorldCat