SRINAGAR: In an unexpected move, government in occupied Jammu and Kashmir on Friday lifted curbs on the movement of separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani to allow him to carry his political activities.
88-year-old Geelani, who has been under house arrest since 2010 at his residence in Hyderpora in Srinagar, was allowed to walk free today after the government lifted curbs on his movement.
Although the police contingent remained deployed outside his residence, Geelani was not barred from moving out as had been the case in last eight years.
The development comes after State police chief Shesh Paul Vaid said all three top separatists leader — Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik — were free to go anywhere to carry out their political and social activities.
He, however, said the trio should not make anti-national speeches or create a law and order problem.
Vaid said Mirwaiz and Malik too are free to move on their choice.
He said the credit for lifting curbs on separatists goes to the government.
After lifting of curbs, Geelani accompanied by his close associate Mohammad Ashraf Sehrai whom he had recently appointed as chairman of his party Tehreek-e-Hurriyat and supporters came out of his residence to offer congregational Friday prayers at nearby Jamia Masjid.
As he was walking towards the mosque, his supporters chanted pro-freedom, pro-Pakistan and anti-India slogans.
It was for the first time since 2010 that Geelani offered Friday congregational prayers in a mosque.
A large number of people including men, women and children thronged the Jamia Masjid in Hyderpora to listen to Geelani’s speech.
“After 8 years, I am offering Friday congregational prayers in a mosque. I thank Almighty for it,” Geelani said in his address in the mosque.