Curfew Continues In India's Kashmir Valley Following Afzal Guru's Hanging; Internet Service Remains Suspended

on February 10 2013 7:47 AM

A curfew continued for the second day Sunday in Indian-administered Kashmir as an uneasy calm prevailed in the Valley following the hanging of Afzal Guru.

Guru was hanged at Tihar Jail in Delhi Saturday for the 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament. 

Guru, hailing from the Sopore area of north Kashmir, was hanged for eight minutes, Saturday and was buried at the jail complex according to the Islamic rites. The hanging of the one-time fruit seller triggered violent protests in Jammu and Kashmir Saturday.

Curfew restrictions under Section 144 of the India Criminal Procedure Code (pertaining to urgent cases of nuisance of apprehended danger) were imposed in all 10 districts of the valley and some other parts of the Jammu and Kashmir state Saturday in the wake of Guru’s hanging. Defying the restrictions, protesters fought pitched battles with security forces, seriously injuring at least 40 people, including 23 policemen.

Restrictions were tightened in the Valley to curb violence following Saturday’s violations of the curfew. However, there were no restrictions on movement of medical and other essential services staff, authorities said.

No untoward incidents were reported in the state till late evening Sunday, but the Valley remained tense.

Mobile and Internet services were suspended Saturday in the state and the Internet remained inaccessible Sunday although there was no official word on the suspension of Internet connectivity, the Press Trust of India reported. In order to prevent the spread of wild rumors, authorities reportedly had directed the cable operators to suspend broadcast of news channels Saturday, but the cable operations resumed Sunday.

Guru, 43, was convicted of supplying arms and providing a place for five Pakistani terrorists who attacked the Indian Parliament Dec. 13, 2001. Fourteen people including the terrorists were killed, when the terrorists stormed into the parliament complex with explosives and machine guns. The parliament was in session and about 100 legislators were present during the attack. Guru was found guilty of facilitating the attack and sentenced to death in 2002 by the Supreme Court of India.

His family said Sunday they will seek Guru’s body to perform his last rites, according to the Islamic traditions in his ancestral village, leading Indian publication Deccan Herald reported.

"We have written a letter to District Magistrate Baramulla seeking the state government's help to get Afzal's body", Aijaz said.

Guru’s mercy petition was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee on India's Republic Day, Jan. 26. There have been strong demands for his execution from the opposition parties and from the families of the victims. However, government had delayed the execution reportedly to avoid opposition from the minority community.

But the timing of his execution was seen by many in the Valley and the country as a ploy by the ruling UPA coalition to gain momentum ahead of the upcoming general elections. 

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