‘We haven’t been able to talk to our families’: Kashmiris abroad cut-off from families

Srinagar: Following the death of senior Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, family members of  Kashmiris working or studying outside Kashmir are unable to speak to them due to the communication shutdown imposed by the authorities.

The news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) spoke to several locals who said they were in a state of panic and were worried about their family members and relatives.

One of the locals, Muzamil Ahmad said that his brother is working in Delhi and is worried about him.

“My brother is working outside Kashmir valley. I haven’t spoken to him since yesterday because of the communication lockdown imposed by the government authorities.”

He said that his family members are panicked and are worried about his wellbeing.

Meanwhile, another local said that his sister is studying outside Kashmir and he isn’t able to connect with her because of the internet and voice calling shutdown.

“As of now, only BSNL mobile service is working in Kashmir but in our family, we don’t have any BSNL connection. My sister is studying in Bangalore and I am not able to speak to her. My parents are worried about her,” he said.

Geelani, 92, had developed some serious complications after which he breathed his last on Wednesday evening at his Hyderpora residence.

Restrictions continued for the second day in Kashmir as transport remained off the roads, business establishments remained closed and communications remained shut.

Residents of the Kashmir Valley woke up to a communication blackout and restrictions imposed on the movement by the armed forces after Syed Ali Shah Geelani passed away at his home Wednesday night.

Barricades and paramilitary personnel were deployed in the city while civilians were not allowed to commute.

“There is very heavy deployment on the streets. I could not go out,” a resident of Srinagar told Free Press Kashmir.

Except a few government-owned BSNL networks, all mobile connections were snapped late Wednesday night. Mobile internet services remain shut in the Valley.

The administration imposed restrictions on movement and communication after Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani passed away.

Geelani was a stalwart leader of the Kashmiri pro-resistance movement and remained under house arrest since more than 11 years.

The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission (IPHRC), one of the principal organs of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on Thursday condemned the Indian Government’s ‘denial of right to choose burial rites and site’ of the veteran Kashmiri leader, Syed Ali Shah Geelani.

“OIC-IPHRC strongly condemns action of Indian Govt to deny right to choose burial rites and site for Syed Ali Shah Geelani, an iconic Kashmiri leader, who over 7 decades peacefully supported human rights & freedoms of Kashmiri Muslims including their right to self determination as enshrined UNSC Resolutions,” the organization tweeted.

Geelani’s family had said that the they were not allowed to participate in the funeral and that the body was forcibly snatched from them by the Police.

The Inspector General of Jammu Kashmir Police for Kashmir Range Vijay Kumar on Thursday refuted the allegations made by Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s family and said that the Police only facilitated in bringing the body of the deceased leader from his house to the graveyard.

The Inspector General of Police denouncing the allegations said that the Police was trying to prevent a law and order situation.

“Reported allegations against Police are baseless. In fact, Police facilitated in bringing dead-body from house to graveyard as there was apprehension that miscreants might take undue advantage of situation. Relatives participated in last rites,” the IGP Kashmir said.

The IGP while speaking to the press near Geelani’s residence last night said that only the relatives of Geelani will be allowed to attend the funeral.

Geelani was 92. He succumbed to prolonged illness at his residence in Srinagar’s Hyderpora.


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