With stray incidents of protests in curfew-bound Kashmir Valley after 2001 Parliament attack accused Afzal Guru was hanged, the UPA government is on tenterhooks and has asked the army and the security forces to exercise utmost restraint in dealing with expected civil agitation in Jammu and Kashmir.
Sources said there were incidents of stone throwing in Sopore, Bandipora and Baramullah in the Valley and a total of 17 persons were injured in the protests. There were disturbing reports of some 40 odd students holding "Namaz-e-Janaza" (prayers for dead) for Guru in the Aligarh Muslim University and planning to agitate during Congress president Sonia Gandhi's visit to the university city on February 16.
"The next one week is going to be crucial from the security point of view and already alerts/advisories have been issued to police, para-military forces and army on how to tackle protests in the Valley...We have told them not to over react and avoid use of fire arms as far as possible," said a cabinet minister.
The security situation post- Guru hanging was reviewed by cabinet secretary Ajit Seth on Saturday afternoon with senior secretaries deliberating on the possible fall-out. While the law and order situation in Valley is under control, the UPA security managers expect protests once curfew is eased off in Srinagar.
J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah and state DGP Ashok Prasad were in Jammu when they were informed about Guru hanging on Friday evening. Although the defence ministry does not expect any untoward situation on the Line of Control, it is waiting for Pakistani reaction as the fate of the Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist has been linked in the past with 1990 Lahore blast accused and Indian national Sarabjeet Singh. Housed in Kot Lakhpat, Singh is on a death row in Pakistan.
Even as the security managers remained tight-lipped over the circumstances leading to Guru's hanging, it is evident that the matter was discussed in the Cabinet Committee on Security after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected Guru's mercy plea on February 3.