Memon's Execution Spurs Kashmir Demand For Guru's Mortal Remains
SRINAGAR: The ghost of the 2001 parliament attack convict, Afzal Guru, seems to be haunting the mainstream camp in Kashmir with all political parties, including the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), demanding his mortal remains after the 1993 Mumbai carnage accused, Yakub Memon, was hanged at a Nagpur jail last week.
The mortal remains of Afzal, buried at New Delhi's Tihar jail where he was executed in 2013, have been denied to his family on flimsy grounds by the government of India, including that it will create "law and order problems" in the state.
After the independent legislator, Engineer Rashid, the opposition National Conference (NC) and the Congress, the ruling PDP,Saturday jumped into the fray, asking the government of India to return Afzal's mortal remains on "humanitarian grounds".
“By returning Afzal's mortal remains to his family, the government of India can send a good signal to the people of Kashmir. I don’t think there should be any problem to return the remains now. It will be a good gesture,” PDP chief spokesman, Mehboob Beig, said.
Earlier, the NC had sought the return of Afzal's mortal remains to his family, saying that "justice cannot have different interpretations for different people". “The system cannot differentiate based on biased presumptions and politics and that such glaring double standards between Yakub Memon’s and Afzal Guru’s case highlighted the perception of discrimination among the people of Kashmir,” NC's chief spokesperson, Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi said.
Ruhullah said his party will continue to press the demand of the return of Afzal’s mortal remains.
However, the PDP slammed the NC for demanding Afzal's mortal remains, alleging that the former chief minister, Omar Abdullah, "decided the date and venue" of Afzal’s hanging.
"Today they are doing politics on his mortal remains for their political survival again. It is unfortunate that the NC, when in power, booked people and separatists and enforced curfew in the streets of Jammu and Kashmir when similar demand was being made for Afzal's mortal remains," PDP youth leader and Political Analyst in CM’s office, Waheed-ur-Rehman Parra, said.
The Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) has also asked New Delhi to return Afzal's mortal remains to his family, “When they (PDP) were in opposition they would make noise that the mortal remains should be returned,” he said. “Now the PDP is the coalition partner of the BJP which is also at the centre, the chief minister should initiate steps so that the family gets the mortal remains,” JKPCC president, Ghulam Ahmed Mir, said last week.
The demand for Afzal's mortal remains was spurred last week when the independent legislator Engineer Abdul Rasheed staged a protest in Srinagar's Lal Chowk on the day when the 1993 Mumbai carnage convict, Yakub Memon, was executed at a jail in Nagpur.
Separatist leaders in Kashmir have also been demanding the return of Afzal's mortal remains for which a patch of land has been kept demarcated in Srinagar's Martyrs' Graveyard along with another patch meant for JKLF founder, Maqbool Bhat, whose mortal remains are also buried in Tihar.