Top Kashmir separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani dies at 92

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Sept. 2 (UPI) — Longtime Kashmir separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani died on Wednesday night after years of ailing health, prompting officials in India to deploy troops and cut off Internet access in the highly disputed Himalayan territory.

Geelani, who was 92, was Kashmir’s most senior separatist leader and had been under house arrest for more than a decade for leading anti-India protests.

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Family members say he died at his home in Srinagar.

Indian authorities deployed police and troops across the region in a move to thwart unrest. The measures included shutting down Internet access.

Geelani opposed Indian rule in Kashmir, a territory between India and Pakistan that has been claimed by both nations for decades. Until it was fully taken over by India in 2019, Kashmir was a semiautonomous territory.

Geelani was the leader of hardline fraction of Hurriyat and previously a member of Jamaat-e-Islami Kashmir but later founded the Tehreek-e-Hurriyat party. He often uttered the cry, “Azadi-barai-Islam,” which means “freedom for the sake of Islam.”

Geelani’s body was buried amid tight security during a predawn ceremony near Srinagar.