Kashmir shuts on Afzal Guru's anniversary

Kashmir shuts on Afzal Guru's anniversary

The forces arrived in our localities before dawn and blocked lanes and by-lanes. They imposed strict curfew without making any announcement about it.

Parts of Srinagar reeled under undeclared curfew on Monday as Kashmir observed shutdown to mark the second anniversary of the secret hanging of Muhammad Afzal Guru in New Delhi’s Tihar Jail on February 9, 2013.

Kashmir’s separatist leaders, including JKLF chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik, were confined to houses or lodged in jails.

Curfew, which was declared in advance, remained in place in areas falling under six police stations in Srinagar including Rainawari, Khanyar, Nowhatta, Mahraj Jung, Safa Kadal and Maisuma. The forces had blocked all exit and entrance points in old Srinagar with local residents not allowed to move out for the entire day, reports said.

“The forces arrived in our localities before dawn and blocked lanes and by-lanes. They imposed strict curfew without making any announcement about it,” said a group of residents from Nowhatta. Armored vehicles were put on road junctions.

In Civil Line areas of Srinagar, huge number of forces personnel were deployed to thwart any protest demonstration. In other parts of Kashmir, shops and businesses were shut and traffic was off the roads. The attendance in government offices was thin.

Reports of shutdown were also received from Ganderbal and Budgam districts of central Kashmir. Reports from Ghat Sopore—the native village of Afzal Guru—said people held Dua Majlis (prayer meeting) in a local mosque and paid rich tributes to Guru. They said hundreds of people from adjoining villages participated in it.

Reports of complete shutdown were also received from Baramulla, Kupwara and Bandipora districts of north Kashmir.

Anantnag (Islamabad), Shopian, Pulwama and Kulgam districts of south Kashmir also observed a complete shutdown. Huge contingents of government forces were deployed in districts to thwart any protest demonstrations.

Meanwhile, JKLF Chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik—who issued a statement from Central Jail Srinagar—paid rich tributes to Guru. He demanded return of mortal remains of Guru and JKLF founder Muhammad Maqbool Bhat.

He also thanked people for observing shutdown and announced that JKLF will submit a memorandum at UN office here on February 11 to urge the world body to press upon India to return the mortal remains of Bhat and Guru.

“India by hanging Guru showed their hatred against Kashmiris. People of Jammu and Kashmir will not forget the sacrifices of martyrs,” he said.

Strongly condemning curfew-like situation on Afzal Guru’s anniversary and restrictions on pro-freedom leaders, Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani said “by following these types of policies, the government is inviting a big trouble for itself.”

He reiterated his demand for return of mortal remains of Bhat and Guru.

Thanking people of Kashmir for observing complete strike on the second hanging anniversary of Guru, Chairman Hurriyat Conference (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has demanded return of his mortal remains from Tihar Jail.

Mirwaiz slammed the government for imposing curfew in parts of Srinagar and arresting pro-freedom leadership.

(WITH INPUTS FROM GHULAM MUHAMMAD, SHEIK NAZIR, SHAHID RAFIQ)