Security Grid ‘Against’ Return Of Body

Security Grid ‘Against’ Return Of Body

24 February 2013
Greater Kashmir
Shabir ibn Yusuf

Srinagar: With voices favoring return of Afzal Guru’s body to his family growing louder within and outside Jammu and Kashmir, the security grid in the State is understood to be vehemently against any such move, citing “eruption of protests in Kashmir.” According to informed sources, ever since the demand for return of Afzal’s body was made by the family, the security apparatus in the State is not in its favour, fearing that such a move may trigger widespread protests across Kashmir. Sources said in their assessment, the field officers of J&K Police have said that thousands of people might take to streets in case the body of Afzal Guru was returned to his family. The assessment, they said, was carried out on directions of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) soon after the State Home Department forwarded the request of Afzal’s wife, Tabasum, to the MHA. Tabasum sought return of her husband’s body from New Delhi’s Tihar Jail where he was hanged and buried on February 9. In the second week of February, the state government forwarded the family’s representation to the Centre. A day after, the MHA acknowledged having received the representation. A top police official told Greater Kashmir that senior police officers in the field were of the opinion that Kashmir might erupt in protests once the body is returned. “Some officers have said that at least five lakh people will take to streets in different pockets of Kashmir once the body arrives and it is not easy to control the situation,” the police official, wishing anonymity, said. “After all police is one of the important stakeholders in maintain law and order situation in the Valley.” Police is understood to have also asserted that “once people in thousands are out on the streets, there could be casualties and nobody is ready to take a chance.” “On the other hand curfew has to be clamped to control the situation. And nobody would take a risk to say that curfew won’t be defied once the body is brought back,” the police official asserted. The official said that the state and central intelligence agencies have also put their point of view on the issue. “I don’t know what they have said,” he said. When contacted, the State Home Secretary Suresh Kumar said: “There is nothing in writing about this assessment. I can’t say anything on the issue. The MHA has not sent any reply to the Guru family representation [on return of body] forwarded to it by the Government.” The Director General of Police (DGP) Ashok Prasad said the force is still tackling post-hanging situation. “We are still tackling the aftermath of [Afzal] hanging,” he said and added that such things have to be decided by the Union Government. “Law is there. Jail manual is there and JKP is here to tackle the situation.” About the police assessment on return of Afzal’s body, Prasad denied to comment. “I really don’t know anything about it. It is the matter between State and Center,” he said.