Amid restrictions Kashmir shuts on Afzal Guroo’s fourth anniversary

Srinagar: The fourth anniversary of Muhammad Afzal Guru, who was hanged in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail on 9 February 2013, was observed across Valley on Thursdaywhile amid restrictions, people observed a complete shutdown to mourn his execution. The government had imposed restrictions in Maisuma and areas falling under the jurisdiction of five police stations of Old Srinagar City to thwart the possible protests.

City Centre Lal Chowk in Srinagar city was virtually made out of bounds for the people while huge deployment of government forces were seen on the roads in North Kashmir particularly in Sopore town. Guru was secretly hanged and buried inside the Tihar Jail complex on 9 February 2013, triggering massive protests across Kashmir and Chenab Valley. Over 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.

Pro- freedom groups in Kashmir had called for complete shutdown on his anniversary seeking his mortal remains back from New Delhi. 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 staging protests.

A peaceful procession was carried out at the native village of Muhammad Afzal Guroo that was attended by a large number of people. The protesters demanded the return back of mortal remains of Guroo. They said that even after the expiry of four years government of India has not returned his mortal remains which is miscarriage of justice.

Most of the separatist leaders had either been detained or put under house arrest. Reports from South Kashmir said that chairperson of Ummat Islami Qazi Yasir Ahmad was arrested by police on the eve of Afzal Guru’s death anniversary. A spokesperson of Yasir said that Yasir was arrested to prevent him prevent him from organizing a protest march on the eve of Afzal Guru’s hanging anniversary.

Shutdown was also observed in Budgam, Ganderbal, Pulwama, Anantnag, Shopian, Kulgam, Tral, Pampore, Baramulla, Kupwara, Bandipora, Handwara and native town of Muhammad Afzal Guroo Sopore. (CNS)