Indian Kashmir politician Syed Ali Shah Geelani, a veteran separatist, has died in Srinagar. He was 91 years old.
In response to the news, authorities deployed troops around the city.
“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 congestion and pain on Wednesday afternoon and died late at night at his residence in Srinagar, the region’s main city.
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 neighbouring Pakistan. Both countries claim the region in full but rule only parts. Tensions were renewed 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 expressed grief over Geelani’s passing on Twitter and said the nation would observe a day of mourning.