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Feb 16, 2013 at 09:18am IST

Afzal Guru's execution ignites a renewed disillusionment for many Kashmiris

Srinagar: A week after the execution of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, many Kashmiris believe that the denial of a final meeting between Afzal and his family will have a lasting impact on an entire generation.

When Afzal was sent to the gallows under a blanket of secrecy, most of Kashmir hadn't heard the news. In the last week, many in Kashmir believe New Delhi made one of its strongest statements through this move.

A Kashmiri on the decision to hang Afzal said, "Why have they hanged Afzal and not killers of Rajeev Gandhi? Why they have spared them? This has created a hole in the heart of Kashmiris, this has alienated Kashmiris. India has shown that they want Kashmir but they don't want Kashmiris."

The youngsters in Kashmir have spent much of the last week indoors - a strict curfew, wavering internet and hardly any touch with the outside world - the Afzal execution, the clampdown that followed and how the family was denied the last meeting has hurt a common Kashmiri and brought the refrain of alienation back.

A resident of Srinagar, Faizan said, "As a Kashmiri I identify with Afzal Guru. As Omar Abdullah said many generations of Kashmir wouldn't recognise Maqbool Bhatt but would recognise Afzal Guru. If they believe in democracy why don't they resolve the issue of Kashmir. Why don't we get referendum, why don't we get Plebiscite."

For a generation which in 2010 picked up stones to challenge the might of the state, 1984 is far cry away when Maqbool Bhatt, leader of the JKLF was hanged but a few similarities all too visible.

Activist Shehla Rashid said, "I would not identify with Afzal precisely because I am a self proclaimed moderate and but the Indian state has managed to make a hero out of him and many people have changed their profile picture to Afzal Guru on Facebook."

The decision of hanging, many believe, came at the cost of Kashmir. The state may revert back to normalcy but for many the execution ignites a renewed disillusionment.

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