Lucknow: Born on 29th September 1929, in a town near Bandipora, North Kashmir, Syed Ali Shah Geelani, is a Kashmiri separatist Hurriyat leader. He gained education at Sopore, and he finished his studies at the Oriental College, Lahore. Previously a member of Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir, he later founded his own party by the name of
He has been the chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference which is a amalgamation of separatist parties in Jammu and Kashmir. He has served as an MLA from the Sopore constituency of Jammu and Kashmir for three terms.
Omar Abdullah, former CM of Jammu and Kashmir, has accused Geelani for the rise in militancy as well as bloodshed in Kashmir.
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The Hurriyat leader has his hands behind numerous general strikes or shutdowns as a response to deaths of unnamed suspected militants, local militants and deaths of civilians in Kashmir.
Geelani sent a letter to United Nations listing six Confidence Building Measures (CBMs), after the death of Burhan Muzaffar Wani for the purpose of restoring normalcy in the state.
Geelani had appealed to people of Kashmir to boycott the 2014 Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly elections completely, for the Government not accepting the proposals for self-rule or autonomy. Overlooking the repeated boycott appeals, more than 65% voters turned out for the 2014 assembly election. This was a record high in 25 years of history. After this, Geelani and other separatists, were talked down by mainstream media for not portraying the real sentiments of Kashmiris.
Geelani called peaceful protests, in November 2011, against alleged “Objectionable Anti-Islamic” content on a social networking website. He described the content on Facebook as a “satanic audacity”. His call triggered protests in various parts of the state which led to clashes between the protestors and the security forces.
Geelani also mourned the killing of Osama Bin Laden by the US. After Laden’s death in May 2011, he led last rite prayers for the slain al-Qaeda leader in Srinagar valley. He also supported Afzal Guru, the main accused in the Indian Parliament Attacks of 2001.
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According to Geelani, Kashmir deserves the right of self-determination. He is reportedly close to the Pakistani government, but criticizes the policies of the country. Geelani has been particularly analytical of the Kargil incident between India and Pakistan.
Despite being Geelani criticized by Indian authorities for inciting violence as well as unrest in the region, he says openly that he is not an Indian.”We are Pakistanis, Pakistan is ours,” he stated to a big congregation of his supporters.