Indian Kashmir veteran separatist politician Syed Ali Shah Geelani died on Wednesday night in Srinagar, prompting authorities to deploy troops around the city and shut down the internet as a precautionary measure. He was 91 years old.
Internet shut down and Indian troops deployed after death of Kashmir separatist leader
"Troops are being deployed at sensitive places in Srinagar and other major towns and no vehicular movement is being allowed," a police official said.
Geelani was the most senior separatist leader in Kashmir. His family said the elderly politician had been ailing for years and had been under house arrest for the last 12 years after leading several anti-India protests.
A family member told Reuters Geelani developed chest pain and chest congestion on Wednesday afternoon and died late at night at his residence in Srinagar.
Police chief Vijay Kumar told Reuters the internet was shut down as down as a precautionary measure and restrictions imposed in the Kashmir valley.
The roads leading to Geelani's residence in Srinagar were sealed, another official said.
Kashmir has long been a flashpoint between India and neighboring Pakistan, which claim the region in full but rule only parts. Tensions were renewed, however, after New Delhi withdrew the autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir state in August 2019 and split it into two federally administered territories.
Last year, Geelani quit his hard line Hurriyat Conference faction, saying that it had failed to counter New Delhi's efforts to tighten its grip on the disputed region.
Hurriyat Conference was formed by various separatist groups in Kashmir in 1993 to provide a political platform for seceding from India in the wake of an armed revolt against New Delhi.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan posted his condolences on Twitter, saying the nation would fly its flag at half mast and observe a day of mourning. "Ali Geelani who struggled all his life for his people & their right to self determination," he wrote.
Mehbooba Mufti, the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, also shared his condolences with Geelani's family in a tweet on Wednesday night.