Doing away with the past practice and despite their health concerns, senior resistance leaders have decided to spend winter this year in Kashmir "to remain with the oppressed people."
Senior pro-freedom leaders Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Muhammad Yasin Malik and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq are presently in Kashmir.
The trio has been jointly spearheading agitation against civilian killings following the death of Hizb Commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani on July 8 last year.
"It has been the desire of Geelani sahib to stay in Kashmir with his people, but due to his health complications he had to move outside the state for treatment in past several years. Despite suffering from various ailments and advise by doctors to shift to some warm place, he has decided to stay in Kashmir this winter," Geelani's younger son Naseem Geelani told Greater Kashmir.
Naseem said Geelani's continuous house arrest is taking heavy toll on his health as he is not allowed out of his house or allowed to meet visitors.
The octogenarian leader has been suffering with chest congestion and other ailments for past several years. In May last year, Geelani was admitted in Delhi hospital after experiencing breathlessness and chest congestion.
The Hurriyat (G) Chairman is on pacemaker since 1997. In 2003, his left kidney was removed at Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai as it had developed carcinoma. In 2004, his gall bladder was removed at Ganga Ram Hospital in Delhi. He was again operated upon in 2007 and half of his right kidney was removed. In 2010, his eyes were operated upon at Apollo Hospital in Delhi.
Geelani's elder son Dr Naeem Geelani said doctors have increased his father's medication.
"We have improved heating facilities at home to prevent his exposure to cold during winter," he said.
"Though Geelani's sahib faces health problems due to intense cold, but he has preferred to stay in Kashmir this winter to remain with oppressed people who faced brunt of forces during summer unrest," a leader of Hurriyat (G) said.
Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) Muhammad Yasin Malik has also preferred to stay in Kashmir this winter.
Malik is also suffering with heart and kidney ailments and was admitted in Fortis Hospital in May last year after suffering breathlessness.
"Malik sahib preferred to stay in Kashmir despite his ailing health. He had to undertake medical checkups in a Delhi hospital, but he decided to stay in Kashmir given the situation people of Kashmir are facing," said Altaf Ahmad, JKLF spokesperson.
"In August last year, so-called authorities had tried to shift Yasin sahib to All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) Delhi for some necessary medical tests, but JKLF chief had refused to accept this dubious offer of the rulers. Malik sahib loves his homeland and people than his health," Altaf said.
Chairman of Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said, "It is not that I would leave the valley every winter but my passport was impounded five years back."
"Sometimes on doctors' advice I would take my mother, who is an arthritis patient, to warmer places for a month or so during severe winters. But it is not some routine that I have followed," he said.
"Kashmir is my motherland and I have lived here all my life be it winter or any other time. And it is my first calling for the last 26 years of my life when fate decided that I carry forward the mission of my family and play my role in the people's sacred struggle," Mirwaiz said.