The police in the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir have charged the family members of late freedom movement leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani under an anti-terror law. The officials said the family was charged for raising slogans anti-India and wrapping Geelani’s body in the Pakistani flag.
Police said the case was registered under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The police are yet to take any of the accused into custody. Geelani’s son Naseem said that a police officer informed the family about the case on Saturday.
Naseem said that the Indian authorities forced their way into their home and took Geelani’s body and buried him in a local cemetery in absence of any family members. In the aftermath of Geelani’s martyrdom under house arrest, a video widely shared on social media showed Geelani’s family and relatives desperately trying to prevent the occupying forces from taking the body away.
Police have denied the incident branding such claims as “baseless rumours” spread by “some vested interests.”
Even days after Geelani’s burial, soldiers remain stationed outside the graveyard. In a tweet, Geelani’s granddaughter Ruwa Shah said that Geelani’s “home was a jail for over a decade and now his graveyard is a jail too.”
Geelani, who was martyred while under house arrest for more than the past decade, was the face of the Kashmiri resistance against Indian oppression in the valley. Geelani stood for the Kashmir people’s right to self-determination and supported the merger of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir with Pakistan.
The widely criticised law – under which Geelani’s family is being charged – was amended in 2019. The amendment in UAPA permits the government to label an individual as a terrorist. Under the law, the authorities can detain a person for six months without any shred of evidence. Under UAPA, the authorities can imprison the accused for up to seven years.
Critics call the law draconian saying that the UAPA legislation is vaguely worded at best and is being used across the country to intimidate or silence dissent.