Afzal hanging: Three men die in clashes in Kashmir, curfew continues

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 11, 2013 16:36 hrs

Srinagar: A youth shot in firing by security forces during protests in the Kashmir Valley against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru died early on Monday taking the death toll to three since clashes broke out last Saturday.

As the Valley remained under curfew for the third day on Monday, official sources said the situation was by and large peaceful with no reports of any untoward incident from anywhere in the Valley,

Jammu and Kashmir government in a revised press statement during the day deleted a reference to the earlier announcement of a magisterial inquiry into the incidents leading to the death of the three youths during the protests.

The first statement by an official spokesman earlier quoted Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Asgar Samoon about directions being given for conducting a magisterial probe.

Samoon when contacted said the matter regarding any magisterial probe has not been decided yet and that the state goernment may take a view later.

Ubaid Mushtaq, who was injured allegedly in firing by security forces at Watergam village in Baramulla district yesterday, succumbed to injuries at 3 AM, Medical Superintendent of SKIMS Hospital Aijaz Mustafa said.

Two youths drowned in a river in Ganderbal yesterday when they tried to escape security personnel while being chased during a demonstration by protesters.

The body of one of the youths--Zameer Ahmad Dar-- was fished out from Jhelum river in Ganderbal district this morning, official sources said. The other youth who drowned was identified as Tariq Ahmad Bhat.

An irate mob thrashed Executive Magistrate Ganderbal Ghulam Mohammad Khatana and his personal security guard Fayaz Ahmad as body of Dar was being taken to Sub-District Hospital for post-mortem, Official sources said.

The sources said Khatana and his guard had to be rescued by police by firing tear smoke shells at the protesters. Both of them were admitted to a hospital for treatment.

The restrictions on the movement of people in the Valley were also further tightened in view of apprehension of widespread protests to commemorate the 29th death anniversary of JKLF founder Mohammad Maqbool Bhat.

Bhat, who was sentenced to death for murder of a police officer, was hanged inside Tihar Jail on this day in 1984.

As many as 14 companies of BSF were rushed to Kashmir Valley from Jammu to beef up the security apparatus.

Operation Three Star -- codename for Afzal hanging

'Operation Three Star' was the code name of the entire top secret plan in which Jaish-e -Mohammad terrorist Afzal Guru was hanged in the high-security Tihar Jail on Saturday morning.

The operation had started on February 4, a day after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected the mercy petition of the Parliament attack convict paving the way for his execution.

Government sources told PTI that a handful of top officials in the Home Ministry and Tihar prison were aware of the operation which was kept top secret considering its sensitive nature.

"Every minute step of the operation was finalised extremely carefully so that the information does not go out. All those involved in the operation maintained highest level of secrecy," said the sources.

Guru, a medical college dropout and resident of Sopore in north Kashmir, was executed at 8 AM on Saturday and buried on the prison premises.

Under the operation, a magistrate was approached on February 6 to get a black warrant issued for hanging of Guru.

Tihar jail authorities received a copy of the black warrant at around 11:30 PM on February 6 and authorities got a letter ready to be sent to Guru's family past midnight at 12:10 AM (February 7).

Though letter was dated February 6, it was sent to the family on the morning of February 7 and reached his family today, 51 hours after he was executed.

'X' was the code name of the operation in which Ajmal Kasab, the lone Pakistani gunman caught alive after the Mumbai terror attack, was hanged to death at Pune's Yerwada Central Jail on November 21.

On death row for over 10 years after conviction for his role in aiding and abetting the attack, a special court had sentenced Guru to death in December 2002 which was upheld by the Supreme Court on August 4, 2005.

Guru was found guilty of conspiring and sheltering the militants who attacked Parliament on December 13, 2001, in which nine persons were killed.

The mercy plea of Guru was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee on February 3.

Mufti calls India 'banana republic'

After Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah questioned the wisdom of executing parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, the main opposition People's Democratic Party in the state called India a "banana republic".

Former chief minister and PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, who is locked in competitive politics with the National Conference and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Monday evening issued a statement, accusing the central government of a "narrow-minded approach (that) has caused serious setbacks to the peace process".

His statement reflected complete support for Afzal Guru, matching the sentiments that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah expressed Sunday, a day after the execution, in interviews to TV channels.

Mufti said: "It is no good to regret the inability of the government to deny Afzal's family a last mandatory meeting with him or deny his body to the family."

Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said: "This reduces Mahatama Gandhi's country, the world's largest democracy and a genuine candidate for super power status, to a banana republic."

Mufti was home minister of the country in the shortlived V.P. Singh government from 1989-1990.

Mufti urged the central government to "roll back the draconian measures in Kashmir, which have caused a whole population to be imprisoned".

He blamed Delhi for what has been happening in the Valley, claiming that law and order is a state subject and measures like curfew have been taken by Omar Abdullah.

National Conference won't quit Govt over Afzal hanging: Farooq

Union Minister and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah today ruled out quitting the UPA government at the Centre over hanging of Afzal Guru, an issue on which Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had made some strong statements.

"Why should we leave the government?... We have got a job to do. You don't leave.... I have no such idea," Abdullah said at a function here.

Abdullah was asked whether the National Conference will quit the UPA government over the Afzal issue as his son J-K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had yesterday slammed the execution of the Parliament attack convict saying it would reinforce a sense of alienation and injustice among generation of youth in the Valley.

Omar had said it will have to be proved to Kashmiris and to the world that the execution of Afzal Guru is not a "selective" one.

"I am Farooq Abdullah. As far as I am concerned the Supreme Court and the High Court passed the judgement. Mercy petition filed by him to the President has been rejected. So, the matter is over," he said to persistent queries on the issue.

Asked if he thought the hanging of Guru would accelerate the separatist movement as it happened in the past after the execution of Maqbool Butt, Abdullah shot back: "you should ask this question to the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, who is there in the state. He knows what is the situation there. I am in Delhi."

Bhat, a Kashmiri separatist leader, was hanged in Tihar jail in 1984 for the murder of Indian diplomat Ravindra Mhatre in the UK.

Abdullah said he felt sad that the family of Afzal Guru did not get a chance to meet him before he was hanged but the matter of execution "is over" and appealed to the media not to play up sentiments.

"I too feel sad that his family could not meet him and say goodbye.. Pity... That we talk in different terms...Okay. But do not play it up....Don't create tragedies for the future, " Abdullah said at a function here.

"The High Court and the Supreme Court passed the judgement and his appeal to the President of India was turned down. He was hanged," he said in his speech.

"How many of us would have died if his plan succeeded as they entered Parliament and shot dead the entire Indian democracy," he said.

Gross violation of rule of law: CPI on Afzal hanging

CPI today attacked the government for "gross violations" of the law and procedures in the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru and asked it to take urgent corrective measures.

"The authorities did not wait for completion of judicial process after rejection of the mercy petition that includes the right to fresh review petition. It is a gross violation of rule of law," the CPI Central Secretariat said in a statement.

It also attacked the authorities for taking a "comical position" by informing the victim's family by speed post, claiming that this "obviously was done in a calculated manner so that the victim and his family could be denied the legal provision of last meeting before the hanging."

"These gross violations of procedures and rule of law is also violation of human rights. This has strengthened the feeling of injustice among the people who were also not satisfied with the legal verdict. This has also resulted in gross sense of alienation among the people of Kashmir Valley."

Terming as "secretive" the hanging of Guru, "a secondary accused in the Parliament attack case", it demanded that the government take "urgent corrective measures and follow rule of law in regard to performance of last rites" of Guru.

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