Srinagar: As 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was hanged in Tihar Jail in the national capital on Saturday morning, curfew was clamped across districts in Kashmir Valley. The uneasy calm in the streets was, however, broken a few times through the day with protests which erupted in Sopore and Baramullah. Two persons were also injured in the protests.
But amidst all this, the biggest challenge that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah faced was to convince people that though he was informed about the impending execution of Guru on Friday, he was not a part of the decision. "Since Afzal Guru had no case here in Jammu and Kashmir, the government did not have any role to play in signing the execution warrant or the death warrant," Abdullah said in his press conference. The Opposition, however, didn't buy his explanation saying as he was a part of the UPA government and therefore would be party to the decision.
Hurriyat Conference leaders Mirwaiz Umer Farooq and Syed Ali Shah Geelani, who were in Delhi at the time of the announcement, were soon placed under house arrest and SAR Geelani, who was acquitted by the Supreme Court in the 2001 Parliament attack case, was also taken into preventive custody by the Delhi Police.
In the Valley, the execution of Guru is not just a sensitive matter but an emotive one as well. In 2011, the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly had tried to pass a resolution seeking clemency for Guru and on Saturday after the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist was hanged, his family members are demanding that his remains be handed over to them. "The government didn't even give us a chance to meet him before being hanged," said his brother Ijas Guru.
That plea has already been rejected by the government which says it could further complicate the situation. Guru's execution though will continue to be a security watch point for the government and its repercussions are likely to be closely watched over the next three days, especially on February 11 - which is the death anniversary of the JLF leader Maqbool Bhatt.