Afzal Guru's Execution: Normalcy Returns To Kashmir, But Curfew Re-imposed In Three Towns

Afzal Guru's Execution: Normalcy Returns To Kashmir, But Curfew Re-imposed In Three Towns

18 February 2013
The Economic Times
Masood Hussain

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir bounced back to normalcy on Monday, after a cocktail of curfew and strike for nine days, following the execution of Afzal Guru. However, by afternoon, curfew was re-imposed in southern towns of Kulgam, Shopian and Pulwama. Resumption of normalcy was partly attributed to massive overnight rumours that MHA will be handing over Guru's mortal remains to the family. Rumours reached a level on social website that some even changed their status on Facebook suggesting the family has been asked to have a calm, private burial. By afternoon when it was clear that it is not happening, a mood swing took over. 'Please do not play with our emotions,' Aijaz Guru, Afzal's elder brother said. 'Do not post baseless stories on these (social networking) sites because we have got no response to our request.' Though most of north Kashmir and Srinagar stayed incident free, there were protests in south Kashmir. Some of these protests turned violated following which curfew restrictions were re-imposed. Death of an elderly lady in asouth Kashmir village during a nocturnal raid of the army owing to cardiac arrest, had already sent residents on the roads. 'Cops fired in air and used pepper gas to disperse the protesters which resulted in chaos and tension,' Nazir Ahmad, a Shopian resident said on phone. 'Soon after, they re-imposed restrictions in the town.' Within hours after the incident, separatists came with their protesting calendars. While JKLF wanted people to observe strike on Friday and protest for the mortal remains, Syed Ali Geelani wants them to observe strike for Wednesday and Thursday and resort to post-prayer protests on Friday. Protest calendars have hinted at the larger reality that the separatists are unwilling to bury the issue. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was camping in Srinagar for all days since Saturday last. He would be meeting officials and reviewing security situation on day to day basis. It was only on Sunday that he flew to Jammu to preside over the cabinet meeting that appointed Iqbal Khanday as the new chief secretary of the state. Apparently aware of the simmering discontent, independent lawmaker Engineer Rashid had asked all the mainstream parties to have a joint sitting so that a joint strategy is framed over the issue. The initiative failed. 'I am not resigning from the assembly,' Rashid told a news conference at his residence. 'I have moved a resolution for the return of mortal remains in the budget session.' National Conference is under attack from almost all sides. 'Omar Abdullah repeated the history in facilitating the hanging of Afzal Guru in February the way his father Farooq did in February 1984, in Maqbool Bhat's case,' Kashmir Bar association general secretary M Ashraf Bhat said in a statement. 'NC cannot clean its hands by issuing ridiculous statements and shedding crocodile tears.' Terming Guru's execution a political assassination, the Kashmir Bar Association said it was sure that the chief minister had 'collaborated' in hanging Guru.