HR organisations condemn ‘violations’ committed in Kashmir after Geelani’s death

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FIDH, FORUM-ASIA, and OMCT have condemned what they termed the serious human rights violations committed by Indian government authorities in Kashmir following the death of Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on 1 September.

In a statement, the three organizations also condemned the imposition of restrictions that are inconsistent with the country’s international human rights obligations and urge the Indian government to end all acts of harassment against Geelani’s family members.

The statement said that as the news of Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s death broke on the night of 1 September, police and military forces blocked all roads and other access routes leading to Geelani’s home in Srinagar. 

The government forces also prevented media workers from reaching Geelani’s home, family members said police removed Geelani’s body from his home, which prevented his family and other relatives from performing his final rites, including funeral prayers and the burial in accordance with Islamic practice, it added.

 According to family members, in the early hours of 2 September, the police hastily buried Geelani at a graveyard near his home – an act that was against the leader’s wishes, as he wanted to be buried in the Martyrs Graveyard in Eidgah, Srinagar, nearly nine kilometers from his home.

No relatives of Geelani were allowed to attend his burial, which took place under a massive presence of security forces. On 5 September, 2021, police in Srinagar filed a first information report (FIR) against an unknown number of  Geelani’s family members under the repressive Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). 

Police accused them of shouting anti-India slogans and draping  Geelani’s body in a Pakistani flag after his death, the statement added.

FIDH, FORUM-ASIA, and OMCT condemned the violations of the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, freedom of movement, and freedom of religion or belief. The three organizations urged the Indian government to ensure the people of Kashmir can exercise their legitimate rights in accordance with the human rights treaties to which India is a state party.

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