On the second anniversary of the death of Syed Ali Geelani, Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai, Secretary General of the World Kashmir Awareness Forum, paid homage to the late leader, highlighting his dedication and passion for the freedom of Kashmir.
Unwavering Stance on Kashmiri Freedom
Geelani, known for his unwavering stance on Kashmiri freedom, spent 12 years under house arrest. Despite the adversity, he remained a central figure in Kashmir’s struggle, being described as a man of “character, truthfulness, and steadfastness.” He is often remembered for his integrity and dedication to the Kashmiri cause. Dr. Sameer Kaul, a Kashmiri Pandit and Geelani’s personal physician, once remarked on Rediff.com, “Geelani Sahib is honest and sincere to his people. 80 percent of Kashmiris respect him because he is not corrupt.”
Throughout recent years of civilian unrest in Kashmir, a chant highlighting Geelani’s resistance to outside influence became a common refrain: “Geelani, the one who doesn’t bow and can’t be bought!” This sentiment was reported by major international publications, including Associated Press and The New York Times.
Syed Ali Geelani 2009 Warning
In a 2009 press conference, Geelani had presciently warned of potential demographic changes in Kashmir, cautioning that hundreds of thousands of non-Kashmiris could be granted citizenship. His concerns seemed to come true with the Domicile Law enacted in 2020, leading to over 4.3 million domicile certificates being issued to non-Kashmiri Indian citizens.
Furthermore, Geelani had been critical of attempts to portray a sense of normalcy in the region. His concerns were echoed by Dr. Fernand de Varennes, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, when India chose to hold a G20 tourism meeting in Kashmir in May 2023. Both individuals saw this as an attempt to legitimize what they viewed as a military occupation.
Geelani Railed Against Suffering and Violence
Throughout his life, Geelani was candid in his communications. He once wrote to N. N. Vohra, the then Governor of Kashmir, urging him to end the oppression of the Kashmiri people. In letters to the members of Indian Parliament, he spoke of the suffering and violence endured by his people due to state policies, while his message to the Pakistani Parliament was one of gratitude for their continued support.
As Kashmiris around the world remember Syed Ali Geelani two years after his passing, Secretary General of the World Kashmir Awareness Forum, Dr. Fai encouraged people to uphold his vision and dedication to the Kashmiri cause, praying for his eternal peace.