Omar Abdullah slams execution of Afzal Guru; curfew continues in Kashmir

Afzal Guru’s hanging will reinforce a sense of alienation and injustice among youth in the valley, says Abdullah
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First Published: Sun, Feb 10 2013. 08 47 PM IST
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah addressing a press conference after the execution of Afzal Guru, at his home in Srinagar, on Saturday. Photo: Mukhtar Khan/AP.
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah addressing a press conference after the execution of Afzal Guru, at his home in Srinagar, on Saturday. Photo: Mukhtar Khan/AP.
Updated: Sun, Feb 10 2013. 10 15 PM IST
Srinagar: Curfew continued in Kashmir for the second day on Sunday after Mohammad Afzal Guru , convicted of complicity in the attack on Parliament in December 2001, was hanged in Delhi’s Tihar jail on Saturday.
The restrictions on the movement of people in the valley were tightened on Sunday morning as there were many violations of the curfew on Saturday, officials said.
At least 36 people, including 23 policemen, were injured in clashes between protesters and law-enforcing agencies across the valley after 43-year-old Guru’s hanging.
Residents of Ganderbal area in central Kashmir claimed a youth died after he jumped into a river while being chased by security forces during a protest. A police spokesman said the youth drowned after a boat capsized on the river.
Deployment of security forces has been strengthened in areas where protests took place on Saturday, officials said.
Mobile Internet services were down for the second day as a precautionary measure and news channels were not aired by cable TV operators. Newspapers also failed to hit the stands on Sunday morning due to the curfew.
An angry Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday slammed the execution of Guru and said it would reinforce a sense of alienation and injustice among Kashmiri youth.
Abdullah also said it was a “tragedy” that Guru was not allowed to meet his family before he was hanged and not allowed a “final farewell”.
Abdullah said there were many unanswered questions. Abdullah said the long-term implications of Guru’s hanging were “far more worrying” as they were related to the new generation of youth in Kashmir “who may not have identified with Maqbool Bhat, but will identify with Afzal Guru”.
Bhat, a Kashmiri separatist leader, was hanged in Tihar jail in 1984 for the murder of Indian diplomat Ravindra Mhatre in the UK.
“Please understand that there is more than one generation of Kashmiris that has come to see themselves as victims, that has come to see themselves as a category of people who will not receive justice,” Abdullah said in TV interviews. “Whether you like it or not, the execution of Afzal Guru has reinforced that point that there is no justice for them and that to my mind is far more disturbing and worrying than the short-term implications for security front.”
Abdullah said he was against the death penalty because “I have no bloodlust”, and as long as the capital punishment exists on the statute, there should be no “pick and choose”.
On Guru’s family not being allowed to meet him, Abdullah said, “I cannot reconcile myself to the fact that his (Afzal) family was not allowed to see him before he was killed or executed. That to my mind, on a human level, is the biggest tragedy of this execution.”
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First Published: Sun, Feb 10 2013. 08 47 PM IST
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