'Curfew' in Kashmir Ahead of Afzal Guru Death Anniversary
Afzal Guru’s late mother and wife Tabassum with son Ghalib
SRINAGAR: Curfew-like restrictions have been imposed in parts of Kashmir Valley, including the summer capital Srinagar, with the Jammu and Kashmir police cracking down on separatists to thwart protests on the third death anniversary of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
A senior J&K Police officer said restrictions have been imposed in areas of old Srinagar city falling under five police stations while additional security has been deployed in sensitive towns of the Valley amid fears of protests over the execution of Afzal at New Delhi's Tihar jail on this day in 2013.
"Restrictions will remain in place for two to three days to prevent any flare-up. Additional deployment of security personnel has been made in other parts of Kashmir also in the view of protest call by the Hurriyat," the officer said.
In Srinagar city, most of the shops, business establishments and tuition centres remained closed in the view of shutdown call issued by all factions of the Hurriyat while there was a thin movement of vehicular traffic on roads. The Hurriyat has been demanding the return of Afzal's mortal remains.
Speaking to The Citizen, Ghalib Guru, the only son of Afzal, said the Government of India must at least return the personal belongings of his father. “I know India will not return the mortal remains of my father, but at least his personal belongings including a Holy Quran, his spectacles, a radio set and books should be given back to us,” Ghalib said.
Ahead of Afzal's third death anniversary, the J&K Police cracked down on the separatist leaders, arresting the JKLF chief Mohammad Yasin Malik on Monday while the Hurriyat (G) leaders, Shabir Ahmed Shah and Nayeem Khan, were placed under house arrest.
Hurriyat (G) spokesman Ayaz Akbar said the police have placed senior leaders of the amalgam including Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai under house arrest. Police also arrested Mass Movement Chairperson Fareeda Behanji and her party activists when they took out a procession from Abi Guzar Monday.
The JKLF had called for protests on February 10 to 'attract the attention of world community to the denial of mortal remains of Guru and Bhat to their family members by New Delhi'. Malik along with three other leaders were presented before a magistrate in Srinagar and sent on a seven-day judicial remand to Srinagar's Central Jail.
All the Hurriyat groups paid tributes to Afzal, saying that his life has become an “example” for younger generation to stand up against the “military occupation” of Jammu and Kashmir by India.
“The entire Kashmiri nation is duty bound to carry forward the mission of the Shaheed Afzal Guru and other martyrs and they will never bow before the Indian oppression. The last letter of Shaheed which he wrote before going to glows (sic) has become as a source of inspiration for the Kashmiri nation and it has added a new life to our freedom struggle,” veteran Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani said in a statement from New Delhi. Similar statements were issued by other Hurriyat groups also.