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Feb 20, 2013 at 09:08am IST

Three-day bandh in Kashmir as clamour to return Afzal Guru's body to his family grows

Srinagar: Tension returned to Kashmir Valley after a three-day bandh was called to urge the government to return hanged Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's body to his family. Human rights groups and Kashmiri politicians are up in arms after the government said it is unlikely to return Guru's body to Kashmir.

"I once again request the Centre to kindly accept request of handing over the body of Afzal to his family. People here are hurt. We are humans and it is your moral duty to at least to heal our wounds," said Engineer Rashid, an independent legislator.

Rashid has moved a resolution seeking a discussion on the issue in the forthcoming Assembly Session. While the main Opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has backed the demand, the ruling National Conference, which is in coalition with the Congress, is maintaining a stoic silence.

"We strongly support the return of the body, which is the minimum that can be done to us to assuage the feeling," said Nayeem Akthar, PDP spokesman.

However, Minister of State (MoS) Home, Sajjad Ahmad Kitcloo distanced the government from Guru's hanging, which occurred on February 9. "We had nothing to do with Afzal's hanging, but now that he is no more, we are not in a position to say whether the body will be sent to Kashmir or not. If it is sent, we will welcome it. It is entirely Centre's prerogative to send or not send the body," he said.

Meanwhile, Kashmiri separatists gave a three-day bandh call starting Wednesday even as the clamour to seek return of his mortal remains from Tihar Jail in New Delhi to Kashmir got shriller.