Jakarta (ANTARA) - Syed Ali Gilani was a symbol of valor, courage, and resistance against oppression and subjugation throughout his life, according to human rights activist Raies Mir of Kashmir.

All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) leader and the icon of the Kashmir freedom movement, Syed Ali Gilani, embraced martyrdom while in detention at his residence in Srinagar on September 1, 2021, at the age of 92, Mir noted in a statement received here, Thursday.

Mir said that Syed Ali Gilani, who had already been suffering from multiple ailments, remained under house arrest from 2010 till his death. This prolonged house detention took a heavy toll on his health.

Syed Ali Gilani spent many years in different Indian jails for opposing India’s illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir.

He endured physical and mental torture during his imprisonment.

On November 29, 2010, Syed Ali Gilani along with noted Indian writer Arundhati Roy, activist Varavara Rao and three others, had been charged under sedition by the Indian government for their speeches at a seminar in New Delhi.

The charges carried a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. After the 2019 Pulwama incident, India took stronger action against pro-Pakistan Hurriyat leaders, including Syed Ali Gilani.

India’s Enforcement Directorate levied a penalty of Rs 14.40 lakhs and ordered the confiscation of nearly Rs 6.8 lakhs in connection with a Foreign Exchange Management Act case against him.

On the orders of the Indian government in 2015, the residence of the veteran leader was converted into a sub-jail and the order was still in vogue when he breathed his last.

After converting his residence and office at Hyderpora into a sub-jail, the police also restricted the use of mobile and telephone services and barred the communication of the Hurriyat leader and other office-bearers with the outside world, Mir said.

The occupation authorities had not only kept Syed Ali Gilani confined to his residence but also denied him proper medical care.

As a result, he developed serious complications, including breathing problems, due to chest congestion and passed away on September 1, 2021.

Syed Ali Gilani, all along his life, strived for the cause of freedom of Kashmir from Indian illegal occupation.

He remained at the forefront of the Kashmiris’ struggle for the right to self-determination.

He always advocated resolution of the Kashmir dispute in accordance with the Kashmiris’ aspirations and the relevant UN resolutions on the issue, Mir stated.

Syed Ali Gilani was a staunch opponent of the Indian illegal occupation of Jammu and Kashmir, and his stand on the Kashmir dispute invited the wrath of the Indian authorities.

Mir said that Syed Ali Gilani spent more than 13 years in IIOJK and Indian jails. He was first imprisoned in 1962 and was even booked under sedition charges for challenging India’s illegal occupation over Jammu and Kashmir. Indian rulers were even afraid of his dead body.

It is evident from the fact that the Indian forces’ personnel snatched away the body of the veteran leader from his family and forcibly buried it in the darkness of the night in a local graveyard at Hyderpora around 300 meters away from him residence – preventing the family from fulfilling his will of burying him at the Martyrs’ Graveyard at Eidgah in Srinagar.

Syed Ali Gilani remained a passionate advocate of Jammu and Kashmir’s Accession to Pakistan throughout his life.

The slogan ‘Hum Pakistani Hain, Pakistan Hamara Hai’ (We are Pakistanis and Pakistan belongs to us) was coined by Syed Ali Gilani.

In recognition of his decades-old struggle for Kashmiris’ right to self-determination, Pakistan President Dr Arif Alvi had conferred Nishan-i-Pakistan, the country’s highest civil award, on Syed Ali Gilani on August 14, 2020.

The death of Syed Ali Gilani under house detention has further elevated his stature among the Kashmiris.

Syed Ali Gilani, who dedicated his entire life to Kashmir and its people, spent his entire life fighting for the Kashmir cause and stood tall in the face of endless persecution and occupation.

His devotion to Kashmir and the suffering he endured for the Kashmiris’ freedom will be remembered and honored by generations to come as he never compromised his demand for a referendum to decide the future of Kashmir, he stated.

Reporter: Azis Kurmala
Editor: Fardah Assegaf
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