SRINAGAR: The normal life in Kashmir was affected by the restrictions imposed by authorities in some parts and shutdown called by separatists on the 4th death anniversary of parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru.
The shops, business establishments and petrol pumps remained closed in summer capital Srinagar and other parts of the Valley. The public transport was also off the roads. However, two wheelers, three-wheelers and some cabs were plying.
The separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, who spearheaded the over five-month long agitation in Kashmir last year after July 8 killing of 21-year-old Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani, had called for shutdown today.
In order to maintain law and order and foil anti-government protests, authorities imposed restrictions in some areas of downtown Srinagar and south Kashmir’s Shopian town.
The security personnel had also sealed the Guru’s home town in Sopore.
The police and paramilitary personnel were deployed in strength in volatile downtown areas and other sensitive parts of the Valley. Armed with a anti-riot gears, the security personnel were maintaining a tight vigil on movement of people to prevent any kind of protests in favour of Afzal Guru.
Guru was secretly hanged and buried in Delhi’s Tihar jail on February 9, 2013 for his role in 2001 militant attack on Parliament in which 14 people including five attackers were killed.
As a precautionary measure, authorities also suspended the Baramulla-Banihal rail service for the day.
“The Indian government should return the mortal remains of Afzal Guru to his family for proper burial. Although it is purely a human issue, India is very reluctant to this demand thereby violating all the principles of morality and constitution and in this way its claim of a largest democracy in the world is getting badly uncovered,” the separatist leaders said.
They have also called for shutdown on February 11, the hanging anniversary of JKLF founder Mohammad Maqbool Bhat
Bhat was hanged in Delhi’s Tihar jail on February 11, 1984 after being convicted for murdering a CID officer. Bhat’s mortal remains were also not returned to his family.
Meanwhile, police today disallowed a seminar organized by independent MLA Er Sheikh Abdur Rashid on Maqbool Bhat and Afzal Guru in Handwara area of border district of Kupwara.
After being barred from holding seminar, the MLA alongwith his supporters tried to take out a protest march. However, the police men intercepted them and detained MLA alongwith some of his supporters. They were lodged in Police Station Handwara. Later, they were later set free.
“Delhi must answer if Maqbool Bhat and Afzal Guru were terrorists? Why people do not forget them after so many years and why Delhi has to impose curfew-like restrictions even in remotest villages on their death anniversaries. While Indian government offered bodies of Ajmal Qasab and Yaqoob Memen to their families but it did not return the mortal remains of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat to their families,” the MLA said.
Describing Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat as “heroes,” Rashid, who is MLA Langate, said, “Had Guru and Bhat been terrorists, India would never have been so scared of handing over their bodies to their families. If Raj Guru, Sukh Dev and Bhagat Singh were Indian heroes, how could Afzal Guru, Maqbool Bhat and others be labelled as terrorists.”