Kashmir Shuts To Remember Afzal Guru

SRINAGAR: Authorities on Thursday put severe restrictions on the movement of people in various parts of the Kashmir valley witnessing a complete shutdown on fourth death anniversary of Muhammad Afzal Guru.

Guru, who was convicted for an attack on Parliament in 2001, was hanged in highly fortified Tihar Jail on February 09, 2013 in New Delhi.

The J&K police said the situation “remained peaceful” across the Valley. The security forces were on high alert across Kashmir in view of the strike call.

People were asked by the joint resistance leadership, Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik, to observe shutdown and hold protests today to demand mortal remains of Guru.

“There was no report of any violence in the Valley,” said a police spokesperson.

Shops and business establishments remained closed and traffic was off the roads in the restriction free areas in the summer capital, Srinagar and adjoining areas.

Work in government offices, banks and other commercial establishments and in public undertaking sectors was also affected in the Valley while as less number of vendors could also be seen on the roads.

 

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Curfew like restrictions were imposed in Shehr-e-Khaas and some other parts of the summer capital.

Police said restrictions under section 144 CrPC have been imposed in Shehr-e-Khaas besides some parts of civil lines since early this morning to maintain law and order.

However, the situation on the ground was totally different as people were told that curfew has been imposed and directed to remain indoor by the security forces and state police who have closed main roads with barbed wire or by parking bullet proof vehicles in the middle.

In north Kashmir’s area of Baramulla district, reports came that the bridges connecting old town Baramulla with civil lines were closed by security forces.

Very less number of vehicles plied on Srinagar-Baramulla and Uri highway.

Large number of security forces had also been deployed at Palhalan, Pattan and Narbal to prevent protests or any stone pelting incident.

Amid shutdown, pro freedom leaders visited the house of Guru situated in Dubgha village of Sopore town to pay tribute to the Guru. The security deployment was put in place to avoid any untoward incident.

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Security forces, wearing bullet proof jackets and holding automatic weapons, remained deployed in this and other major towns and tehsil headquarters in south Kashmir, a report from Anantnag said. Business and other activities remained paralysed with traffic also remained off the roads.

Reports of shut down were also received from central Kashmir districts of Budgam and Ganderbal districts.

Meanwhile, reports said that clashes erupted at Main Chowk Sopore between youth and security forces when youth took to streets to stage a protest on eve of Afzal’s death anniversary.

The protesters were demanding the mortal remains of the Guru. However, soon after the clashes, police resort to tear gas shelling to disperse the protesting youth.

The joint resistance leadership had called for a shutdown on Thursday, the fourth death anniversary of Afzal Guru, and on Saturday, death anniversary of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front founder Maqbool Bhat. Bhat was hanged on February 11, 1984.

Both Afzal and Bhat were hanged at Tihar Jail in New Delhi. The people of Kashmir leaders have been demanding the return of the mortal remains of Afzal and Bhat.

All the top resistance leadership have been detained in their homes to prevent them from staging any protests.

Authorities Shut Rail Services

SRINAGAR: Fearing protests and disruption, the Northern Railway authorities on Thursday suspended Banihal-Baramulla rail services in Kashmir Valley.

The Valley observed a complete shutdown today to remember parliament attack convict, Muhammad Afzal Guru, who was hanged in highly fortified Tihar Jail on February 09, 2013.

“We have suspended rail service in the valley for security reasons,” a senior railway official said.

Rail services remained suspended on Budgam-Srinagar-Anantnag and Qazigund in south Kashmir to Banihal in Jammu region track.

“This has been done for security reasons following directions from the police,” he said.

Rashid’s Seminar Disallowed

HANDWARA: J&K Police Thursday arrested Langate lawmaker, Er Rasheed, on way to Kupwara, where he was scheduled to attend a seminar organized by Awami Itihaad Party (AIP) to pay tributes to Muhammad Afzal Guru and Mohammad Maqbool Bhat.

Rasheed was detained in Handwara by police, however, he along with hundreds of his party activists defied restrictions and started protest march towards Kupwara.

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A heavy contingent of police stopped the procession and used force to disperse them.

Rasheed along with ten activists was arrested and taken to police station Handwara.

Speaking to media persons on the occasion, Er Rasheed reiterated that “sacrifices of Kashmiri nation would not go waste and the state oppression” will have to end sooner or later.

“New Delhi must answer if Maqbool Bhat and Afzal Guru were terrorists, why people do not forget them after so many years and why New Delhi has to impose curfew like restrictions even in remotest villages on eve of anniversaries of these Kashmiri heroes. For every Kashmiri, Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat, are victims India’s colonial attitude. While GoI offered dead bodies of Ajmal Qasab and Yaqoob Memen to their families but proved brutal, inhuman and ruthless by not returning even mortal remains of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat,” he said.

Rasheed added that had Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat been terrorists, “India would never have been so scared of handing over their dead bodies and asked Indians that if Raj Guru, Sukh Dev and Bhagat Singh were Indian hero’s, how could Afzal Guru , Maqbool Bhat and others be labelled as terrorists”.

JNU Students Hold Event

NEW DELHI: Dozens of JNU students on Thursday held a demonstration in solidarity with those killed, maimed or blinded in the Kashmir Valley during the 2016 unrest, a year after a similar event triggered a row on the university campus that also led to the arrest of student leaders, including Kanhaiya Kumar and Umar Khalid.

Remembering the victims of Kashmir violence post the killing of militant commander Burhan Wani, the Jawaharlal Nehru University students raised pro-freedom slogans and put blood stained bandages on their eyes — depicting the pellet victims in the valley.

“In solidarity with The Country without a Post Office,” wrote Umar Khalid, who was arrested last year in February on charges of sedition and later released on bail.

The students gathered outside the Administrative Block of the university and demanded “peace and freedom” for Kashimir. The day also marked the fourth death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru who was hanged in 2013.

The RSS’s students front Akhil Bhartiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) denounced the demonstration, calling it a revival of “anarchy” on the campus and demanded top JNU officials’ resignations for failing to stop pro-Kashmr protest.

“It’s a shame on the part of the administration that it was unable to stop them. Thus, those in administration should resign,” the ABVP said in a statement.

Students including Khalid, Anirban Bhattacharya, Ashustosh, and former JNU Students Union President Kanhaiya Kumar were arrested and subsequently released on bail. The matter is pending in courts.
 

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