Srinagar, Feb 9: Kashmir Valley observed a shutdown to remember Muhammad Afzal Guru on his fifth hanging anniversary.
Guru was hanged in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail on February 9, 2013 after his ‘conviction’ in Parliament attack. Though there were insufficient evidences against him which could prove his role in the attack, but the Supreme Court ordered “he to be hanged till death for the collective conscience of society’.
In wake of the anniversary, Police had detained or confined to houses most of the pro- freedom leaders and launched a crackdown to arrest youth across Valley. Guru was secretly hanged and buried inside the Tihar Jail complex on 9 February 2013, triggering massive protests across Kashmir and Chenab Valley. About half a dozen people were killed during the protests while hundreds others injured. After Guru’s hanging, the central government did not hand over his body to his family members and buried it inside the jail complex. Even the family of Guru had written to Government of India to hand over the body. The plea was however turned down.
Joint Resistance Leadership including Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik had called for complete shutdown on his anniversary seeking his mortal remains back from New Delhi. Malik has been lodged in Srinagar Central Jail while Geelani and Mirwaiz are under house arrest.
All the shops and business establishments, coaching Institutes, petrol pumps remained shut while public transport did not ply on the roads. Stringent restrictions paralyzed normal life in old Srinagar City where government forces were deployed in large numbers to thwart possible protests. Large contingent of police and Para-military troopers were also deployed in almost all the district headquarters and towns to bar people from protesting.
Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front activists headed by Noor Muhammad Kalwal staged a protest in Abi Guzar Srinagar. The protesters while raising anti-India slogans demanded the mortal remains of Muhammad Maqbool Bhat and Muhammad Afzal Guru back to Valley.
While talking to reporters Noor Muhammad Kalwal said that India has unleashed a reign of terror across Kashmir Valley. He said that in order to muzzle the voice of people, separatist leaders including Muhammad Yasin Malik have been put behind the bar. “The State Government once again disallowed Friday congregational prayers in historic Jamia Masjid and it speaks volumes,” Kalwal said.
Strict restrictions were imposed in Sopore while the roads leading to Afzal Guru’s native village were sealed. However, despite restrictions, a large number of people visited the family of Guru.
Jammu Kashmir Democratic Freedom Party (JKDFP) organized a function at Sopore at Afzal Guru’s ancestral home to exhibit solidarity with the family and to remember him and Shaheed Mohammad Maqbool Bhat on their anniversaries.
The Freedom Party delegation which participated in the function despite strict government restrictions at the residence of Afzal Guru was led by Engineer Farooq also included Peer Anayatullah, Mohammad Amin, Rameez Ahmad, Ashiq Hussain and Ghulam Mohammad Muqdam. The delegation members while deliberating paid rich and glowing tributes to Afzal Guru on his fifth martyrdom anniversary.
The JKDFP delegation members while addressing the present gathering at Boabgah, Sopore said that Afzal Guru was hanged secretly only, “to satisfy the collective conscience of India” hence dishonoring the principles of humanity and justice.
A police official said that overall situation remained peaceful across Kashmir.
Reports said that stone-pelting incidents were reported from Chotta Bazar Sopore, Meemandar Shopian, HMT and Braripora Nawakadal area of Srinagar city. Government forces used tear-smoke shells to disperse the protesters at a couple of places. (CNS)