Indian Kashmir on boil over Afzal Guru’s hanging for 4th day

Policemen enforce curfew in Indian Kashmir: File Pic
Policemen enforce curfew in Indian Kashmir: File Pic

The Indian administered Kashmir continues to be on boil over the hanging of Indian parliament attack convict and Kashmiri citizen Mohammad Afzal Guru and for 4th day in succession, curfew continues to be enforced in the region and no newspaper was published for third day.

Srinagar, Feb 12/Nationalturk – The Indian administered Kashmir continues to be on boil over the hanging of Indian parliament attack convict and Kashmiri citizen Mohammad Afzal Guru. For the 4th day in succession, the curfew was strictly enforced in the region and no newspaper was published for third day on Tuesday.

The indefinite curfew was imposed in Indian administered Kashmir on February 9 (Saturday) after Indian government hanged secretly Indian parliament attack convict and Kashmiri citizen Mohammad Afzal Guru in Tihar jail, Delhi earlier in the morning.

Guru was convicted of alleged conspiracy in December 2001 attack on Indian Parliament and was sentenced to death by Indian Supreme Court in 2004. His hanging was scheduled for October 2006, but was stayed after his wife filed a mercy petition. The Kashmiri population, separatist leaders and some section of pro-Indian political parties and leaders have been saying that Afzal was not given a fair trial in the case.

On December 13, 2001, five heavily-armed gunmen stormed the Indian Parliament complex and opened indiscriminate fire, killing nine persons including five Delhi Police men, a woman Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) official, two Parliament watch and ward staff and a gardener. All five attackers were also killed. Guru was arrested on December 15, 2001, from a bus in Indian capital and accused of plotting the attack.

Since Saturday, thousands of police and paramilitary soldiers have been deployed on the roads in Indian administered Kashmir to enforce curfew. They have placed barricades, concertina wires and armoured vehicles on the roads to prevent movement of vehicles and people.

The authorities have not relaxed curfew in Srinagar, summer capital, or any other part of the region since Saturday. Due to continued curfew, people have complained that they are facing shortage of essentials and medicines.

According to media reports, Indian government has rushed additional 14 companies of border guards (BSF) and 10 companies of paramilitary CRPF to the region to help the police and paramilitary forces already deployed in the region to maintain law and order and enforce curfew.

Newspaper publications suspended for 3rd day

The newspaper publications in Indian administered Kashmir remained suspended for third day on Tuesday. At least 60 English and Urdu daily newspapers published from the region have not hit the stand since Saturday.

The owners and editors of local newspapers have said they have been unofficially told by the authorities to suspend publications of their newspapers till further orders.

Authorities have also shut almost all internet facilities in the region. Besides, the authorities have told cable operators not to telecast news channels and political discussions. Since Saturday evening, no news channel is available on cable in Indian administered Kashmir.

Indian government should return Guru’s body to us: Family

The family members of Mohammad Afzal Guru have asked Indian government to return his body, which was buried in India’s Tihar jail after his hanging on February 9 morning, should be returned to them.

“The Indian government should hand over Afzal Guru’s body to us so that we can give him a proper burial as per Islamic principles. We have no other demand,” Afzal Guru’s cousin, Mohammad Yasin was quoted as saying by Indian news channel, PTI.

Yasin said the family has also written a letter to Tihar jail authorities as well as officials in Kashmir seeking handing over of Guru’s body to them.

“Soon after we came to know about the hanging through media, we wrote letters to Tihar Jail authorities and top government official in Kashmir for return of Guru’s body. We were awaiting a response from the concerned authorities on the matter,” he said.

Asked about reports that Indian government can consider allowing the family to offer ‘fatiha’ (prayer) on Afzal’s grave, Yasin said, “It was of no use. Where will we offer faitha (prayers)? We want to bury him at our native place in Sopore  in North Kashmir”.

He accused Indian leaders of playing politics over the death of Afzal. “Afzal was hanged — rightly or wrongly, we don’t want to go into that — but politicians should stop playing politics with it,” he said.

Earlier, in the day Indian Home Secretary R K Singh had said that Afzal Guru’s family can pray at his grave situated inside the Tihar Jail.

He also said Guru’s belongings will be handed over to his family.

Meanwhile,  Hurriyat Conference moderate faction led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Tuesday also demanded return of Guru’s body.

“Indian government had “murdered the fundamental principles” of justice by denying Guru’s family his body as every human being has the non-negotiable right to be buried according to his religious rites in the presence of his family members.  Indian government has trampled all human values as they are now saying that Kashmiris have to seek their permission for visiting the graves of their beloved ones,” a spokesman of Hurriyat Conference said.

He said that Guru’s body should be handed over to Kashmiri nation forthwith as he deserves the right to be buried in his soil.

3 deaths so far

At least three people have died so far during protests in Indian Kashmir after Afzal Guru’s hanging on February 9.

A youth boy, who had sustained critical bullet injuries when soldiers fired on protestors in Watergam (Rafiabad) area of North Kashmir’s Baramulla area succumbed to injuries in a hospital yesterday.  Another youth, who has been hit by a bullet in head is said to be in critical condition.

Besides, two youth from Batwina village of central Kashmir’s Ganderbal area  were drowned after they were being chased by the soldiers during protests. However, police said the deaths had occurred because of a boat capsize in the Jhelum river.

Meanwhile, police  have arrested two paramilitary CRPF soldiers for firing on protestors in Watergam in North Kashmir on Sunday. In the firing incident, a youth was killed and five were injured, one of them critically.

A top official said the paramilitary CRPF men, who belonged to 92 battalion, fired without any permission from a Magistrate.

“The paramilitary soldiers didn’t follow Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and they should have responded with lathi-charge to deal with the stone incident”.

People at several places in the region have defied curfew and restrictions and staged anti-India protests since February 9, when Guru was hanged. Over 50 people including some policemen have been injured in the clashes.

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Faiz Ahmad / NationalTurk India News


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