Kashmir leader’s family charged under India anti-terror law

SRINAGAR: Police in Indian-held Kashmir charged family members of late resistance leader Syed Ali Geelani under a harsh anti-terror law for raising anti-India slogans and wrapping his body in the Pakistani flag, officials said Sunday.
Geelani, who died Wednesday at age 91, was the emblem of Kashmir’s defiance against New Delhi and had been under house arrest for years.
His son, Naseem, said Indian authorities buried Geelani’s body in a local cemetery without any family members present after police snatched his body from the home. Police denied that and called it “baseless rumors” by “some vested interests.”
A video widely shared on social media purportedly showed Geelani’s relatives, mostly women, frantically trying to prevent armed police from forcing their way into the room where his body, wrapped in a Pakistani flag, was being kept. It showed women wailing and screaming as police took the body and locked his family and relatives inside the room.
Police said unspecified family members and some others were charged Saturday under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. They have not yet been taken into custody.
The anti-terror law was amended in 2019 to allow the government to designate an individual as a terrorist. Police can detain a person for six months without producing any evidence, and the accused can subsequently be imprisoned for up to seven years. Rights activists have called the law draconian.
Geelani’s son Naseem said Sunday that a police officer visited the family on Saturday and informed them a case had been registered. Naseem did not provide further details about the meeting, but said there were scuffles as the police removed his father’s body. – AP