SAR Geelani leads ‘in absentia’ funeral prayers for Afzal Guru

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Delhi University professor SAR Geelani, who was acquitted in the 2001 Parliament attack case, on Friday held a funeral "in absentia" for Afzal Guru, who was hanged in Tihar jail last week after being convicted in the case.

The ghaibana janaza — funeral prayers in absentia — was held at 2.30 pm on Friday at the Eidgah opposite the graveyard in Batla House in Southeast Delhi.

Speaking to Newsline, Geelani said the funeral was being held "in absentia" as they did not have the "mortal remains" of Afzal.

Geelani said he visited Afzal in jail in January this year and Afzal had asked him to "take care" of his son.

"I used to visit him regularly in jail and went there last in January. Afzal was a little upset that day. He had filed a petition for transfer to Srinagar jail a long time ago. But the Jammu and Kashmir government turned down his request. That day, Afzal showed me a letter he had received from the Delhi government saying that J&K had refused to keep him in a prison there. We spoke for a long time that day," Geelani said.

He said Afzal spoke about Kashmir and his family. "He was not very hopeful," Geelani said.

Concerned about the safety of his family, Afzal asked Geelani to take care of his wife and son. "His parting words always were: Allah ke baad woh dono tumhare hi hawale hain (After God, it is you who will take care of them). He never failed to inquire about his wife and son when I visited him. He requested me to take care of them," Geelani said.

On hearing the news of Afzal's execution on the morning of February 9, Geelani had set out for Jantar Mantar to participate in the protest organised by Kashmiri students and others who called themselves members of the civil society. But he was taken into preventive custody by police who took him to a detention centre in New Friends Colony.

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