SRINAGAR: The entire Kashmir valley has been placed under strict curfew in the wake of the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru in the wee hours of Saturday.
The authorities in Srinagar and other major towns of the valley announced through loudspeakers to remain indoors after the Fajr Nimaz. Heavy deployment of para-military and police was placed in the sensitive areas of Maisuma locality in uptown besides areas in downtown, reports said.
The authorities have also closed the Srinagar-Jammu national highway for the day to avert any trouble. Large number of para-military personnel have deployed outside the houses of the separatist leaders to prevent them from coming out on the streets to instigate trouble in the valley, the reports said.
Reports said Srinagar residents are informing one another on phone about the imposition of curfew in the valley and trying to know the situation in their respective areas.
Incidentally, the hanging of Guru came two days ahead of “martyr’s day” observed by Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front on February 11 when their founder leader Maqbool Bhat was hanged to death in Tihar jail in 1983 for being guilty of killing a bank manger in the border district of Kupwara in a bank robbery case.
The separatist leaders and the mainstream politicians in Kashmir were averse to Guru’s hanging. Incidentally, chief minister Omar Abdullah was in New Delhi on Friday and reports said that he was himself caught unawares about the rejection of the mercy plea of Afzal Guru by President Pranab Mukherjee.
Afzal Guru, who hailed from Sopore in north Kashmir was a Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist and was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court in 2002 after he was found guilty of facilitating the 2001 Parliament attack. Nine people including security men and officials of Parliament were killed when Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists attacked Parliament in 2001 and Afzal Guru was held responsible for conspiracy and helping the perpetrators. Several Kashmiris based in New Delhi were picked up for questioning but later on released after court observed that they were not involved in the crime.
Afzal Guru was initially a member of the JKLF terrorist outfit. Guru, according to his own interviews with various newspapers, had admitted that he rejoined militancy after one Tariq Ahmad of Anantnag motivated him to join ‘jehad’ for the liberation of Kashmir by launching attacks on various embassies and Indian institutions. Tariq, according to Guru’s own version introduced him to one Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist in Ghaziabad in Pakistan, who motivated him to launch an attack on the Parliament.
The Supreme Court had ordered hanging of Guru in 2004, after he was charged with facilitating the attack on Parliament in 2001. But Guru’s wife made an appeal to the President for mercy after his execution was scheduled in 2006. Till then the mercy petition was pending with the President’s office.
Union Home minister Sushilkumar Shinde had promised that he would dispose of the file soon after he took over the charge of the ministry last year.
The reports from New Delhi said that President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the mercy plea on January 23, 2013 and the hanging took place at 8 am on Saturday, inside the Tihar jail where the convict was lodged, sources added.