Denying Geelani’s family right to participate in his last rites against humanity: Mehbooba
Srinagar: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said denying the family of separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani the right to participate in his last rites was against humanity and had saddened the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
The 91-year-old was buried in a graveyard located in a mosque near his residence.
“We had our differences with Geelani … A fight is with a living person but once a person dies, the differences should end. The deceased is entitled to dignified last rites,” Mehbooba said after a party meeting here.
The former chief minister said the news reports about the denying Geelani’s family right to perform his last rites had saddened the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“The family has a right to perform the last rites of a dead person. What we heard and came to know through media reports about disrespect to the deceased, is against humanity. You have to respect your opponent after death like you would respect anyone,” she said.
She said Geelani’s wish to be buried at Eidgah graveyard should have been granted.
“Even a convict sentenced to death is granted one last wish before execution,” Mehbooba said, referring to Geelani’s wish.
The PDP president also condemned the alleged misbehaviour with womenfolk of Geelani’s family at the time of his death.
She also alleged that instead of granting permission to the family to perform his last rites, an FIR was lodged against them for seeking burial of the deceased leader in a place of his choosing.
“I too had differences with Geelani Sahab over certain things, but that does not mean you exact revenge for his ideologies after his death. You fought a war with a dead body out of fear, how regrettable!” said the PDP leader.
“India is held in high esteem globally for its civilisation and culture… But what has happened does not fit the image of the country,” she added.
Mehbooba said people cannot be forced to like or dislike a leader at gunpoint.
“What happened with the dead body of Geelani has probably generated sympathy among even those who might have had differences with his politics. There was no call, yet the markets were shut down after people came to know about what had happened (on Wednesday night),” she said, adding that “shopkeepers closed their shops without any call despite being threatened that their power and water supply will be disconnected.”
Replying to a question that Pakistani slogans were shouted and that his body was wrapped in a Pakistani flag , she said “When Mufti Sahab (Mufti Mohammad Sayeed) who was the then CM died, he wished that his body be wrapped in a particular party’s flag, and he did not mention the national flag.
“This is I think a very minor issue. India is a great country and everyone should be accommodated in this democratic country without denying the last wishes of the dead,” she added.