With Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan declaring a day of official mourning on the demise of Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, India on Thursday said it was the Pakistani PM's statement and it had no comments to offer. Geelani, 91, died at his home in Srinagar on Wednesday night after a prolonged illness. The pro-Pakistan separatist leader, who spearheaded separatist politics for over three decades in Jammu and Kashmir, was buried at a mosque near his residence.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was "deeply saddened" to learn about Geelani's death. "The Pakistan flag will fly at half-mast and we will observe a day of official mourning," Khan said. Asked about Khan's statement at an online media briefing, Ministry of External Affairs Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said, "I don't have an immediate comment on this. It is his statement. They had given him 'Nishan-e-Pakistan', their wish, what can I say." Asked about reports of vandalising of temple and breaking of idols in Pakistan, Bagchi said India has issued many statements on attacks on minorities in Pakistan and has raised such issues with them in the past.
On the resumption of air bubble with Bangladesh, the MEA spokesperson said talks are underway and proposals are being discussed. To a separate question on Vishal Jood, who is lodged in an Australian prison reportedly over his alleged hand in a series of hate attacks on suspected pro-Khalistan Sikhs in Sydney this year, Bagchi said a judgment has been passed in the case on Thursday and the ministry is ascertaining its details.
Restrictions to Continue
Meanwhile, police said the situation in Kashmir following the death of hardline separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani remained peaceful with no untoward incident being reported. However, restrictions on movement and assembly of people, and the suspension of mobile Internet services will continue on Friday as well, they said.
“Today, the situation across the Valley remained peaceful and no untoward incident was reported," a police spokesperson said. He said some people with vested interests tried to spread baseless rumours about a “forcible burial of SAS Geelani by Police". “Such baseless reports which are a part of false propaganda to incite violence are totally refuted by the police.
“As a matter of fact, police instead facilitated in bringing the body from the house to the graveyard as there were apprehensions of miscreants taking undue advantage of the situation. The relatives of the deceased participated in the burial," the spokesperson said. He said the IGP of Kashmir Vijay Kumar thanked and appreciated the cooperation of the public in maintaining peace throughout the Valley “defeating the ill designs of inimical elements who are hell-bent in disturbing the otherwise peaceful atmosphere in the valley".
The spokesperson said the situation in Kashmir valley would be reviewed on Friday afternoon to decide on the future course of action. “The public is requested not to pay heed to rumours being spread by anti-national elements, especially from across the border, who are trying to take undue advantage of the situation and disturb the peaceful atmosphere in Valley," the spokesperson added.