Kashmir still under lockdown after Geelani’s death

SRINAGAR: Indian occupation authorities enforced a security lockdown and a near-total communications blackout for a second straight day in disputed Kashmir on Friday after the death of Syed Ali Geelani, a top resistance leader who became the emblem of the region’s defiance against New Delhi.

Geelani’s death at age 91 on late Wednesday and the ensuing crackdown on public movement and communications by Indian authorities highlighted the turmoil seething just below the surface in the Himalayan region of achingly stunning beauty.

Wearing flak jackets and riot gear, armed police and paramilitary soldiers patrolled streets in Srinagar, the region’s main city, and ordered residents to stay indoors.

Razor wire, steel barricades and perpendicularly parked armored vehicles blocked some streets and roads in the city as officials anticipated anti-India protests after weekly congregational Friday prayers.

Geelani spearheaded Kashmir’s movement for the right to self-determination and was a staunch proponent of merging Kashmir with Pakistan. For many in Kashmir and beyond, he was an enduring icon of defiance against India. Successive Indian governments often dubbed him a hard-line politician.

Kashmir has long been a flashpoint between India and Pakistan, which both claim the region in full but rule only parts.

Rebels have been fighting against Indian rule since 1989. – AP