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Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 12, 2013
"It's a judicial murder," said Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani on the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

In his first interview on phone from his Delhi residence where he has been placed under house arrest since Afzal's hanging, Geelani told HT that the execution was a "political decision carried out keeping in mind the majority sentiment".

"Majority sentiment and public perception can't become a reason to hang a person…The execution had no legal sanctity," he said.

Guru's hanging has given a fresh lease of life to Kashmiri separatists who had been lying low in the recent past.

It has also revived the memories of the hanging of JKLF founder Maqbool Bhat in Tihar Jail on February 11, 1984, a move that saw an entire generation in the Valley turn to militancy.

The move has also ended the possibility of a dialogue between separatists and the Centre given that another separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq had recently indicated his willingness to come to the negotiating table if the Armed Forces Special Powers Act was revoked from J&K.

A section in the J&K establishment apprehended that Afzal's hanging could again revive militancy at a time when it was down.Geelani criticised the Centre for not informing in advance Afzal's family about the hanging.

"This is inhuman… At least his wife and son should have been given a chance to meet him," he said.Geelani threatens to launch a "decisive struggle" to press for the demand for return of mortal remains of Bhat and Afzal.

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