Syed Ali Gilani’s demise: End of an era | By Ahmad Habib

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Syed Ali Geelani, leader of the hardline faction of Indian administered Kashmir's main separatist alliance the All Parties Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference (APHC) addresses a press confrence at his residence on the outskirts of Srinagar, on June 3, 2008. A top Kashmiri separatist accused India of preventing him from attending Sikh separatist commemorations of the army's storming of Amritsar's Golden Temple in 1984. Geelani said he had hoped to become the first Kashmiri separatist to attend the annual commemorations on June 4 but that he had been put under house arrest since June 1. AFP PHOTO/ Rouf BHAT (Photo credit should read ROUF BHAT/AFP/Getty Images)

Syed Ali Gilani’s demise: End of an era

The veteran Hurriyat leader and the icon of Kashmir freedom movement, Syed Ali Gilani, embraced martyrdom while in detention in Srinagar on 01 September 2021 at the age of 92. His demise brought to the end an era of valor, courage and resistance against oppression and subjugation.

Syed Ali Gilani, who had already been suffering from multiple ailments, remained under house arrest from 2010 till his death. This prolonged house detention took heavy toll on his health.

On the orders of the Indian government in 2015, the residence of the veteran leader was converted into a sub-jail and the order was still in vogue when he breathed his last. After converting his residence and office at Hyderpora into a sub-jail, police also restricted the use of mobile and telephone services and barred the communication of the Hurriyat leader and other office-bearers with the outside world.

The occupation authorities had not only kept Syed Ali Gilani confined to his residence but also denied him proper medical care. As a result, he developed serious complications including breathing problems due to chest congestion in the afternoon of 01 September 2021 and passed away at 10:30 PM.

The veteran leader began his political career in 1950. He remained associated with the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu and Kashmir for most part of his life but later founded his own party, Tehreek-e-Hurriyat Jammu and Kashmir. He led the All Parties Hurriyat Conference and quitted the pro-freedom amalgam on worsening of his health condition.

Syed Ali Gilani all along his life strived for the cause of freedom of Kashmir from Indian illegal occupation. He remained at the forefront of the Kashmiris’ struggle for right to self-determination. He always advocated resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the Kashmiris’ aspirations and the relevant UN resolutions on the issue.

Syed Ali Gilani was a staunch opponent of Indian illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir and his stand on the Kashmir dispute invited the wrath of the Indian authorities. He spent more than 13 years in Indian jails.

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