Was on phone with Afzal's wife when cops came: Geelani

FP

Hours after Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was hanged in Tihar jail last Saturday, his wife Tabassum asked Syed Ali Shah Geelani, leader of the hardline Hurriyat faction, to help bring home his body.

Tabassum sought Geelani's help when he spoke to her on the phone after Afzal's hanging. He was still on the mobile phone when Delhi Police personnel showed up at his daughter's house in Malviya Nagar in south Delhi, and detained him there.

"We spoke to Afzal's wife after hearing the news of the hanging. She expressed the family's desire that his remains be handed over to them. We were planning to go to Tihar and submit an application to the authorities that they hand over his body and belongings to the family.

We were also planning to leave for Srinagar thereafter. But just then, police personnel, including women constables, came to our house and placed me under house arrest," Geelani told The Indian Express on Monday.

The policemen, he said, positioned themselves inside Geelani's small room — it has a single bed, a study table, a book shelf and a sofa.

"I am 83 years old. It was a 32-hour-long house arrest and was very unique. The policemen were sitting inside my bedroom all the time and seized my phone. We were at their mercy during this entire period. Our communication with the outside world was completely cut off," Geelani said.

He said this detention was different from the one he has experienced in Kashmir. According to Geelani, J&K police personnel stand outside his house in Srinagar and place a truck in front of the main gate so that no vehicle can leave or enter the premises.

He said his detention reflected the "insecurity" of the government. "People feel alienated because the government does not give political space. When you push the youth to the wall, what option do they have?" he asked.

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