Slowly limping back to normalcy since the hanging of Mohammad Afzal Guru in Delhi’s Tihar Jail, Kashmir seems all set to go over the edge again; this time over a youth’s suspicious death ‘due to hanging’ in southern city of Hyderabad.
Twenty-nine-year old Kashmir resident, Mudasir Ahmad Malla , a PhD student found hanging in his hostel room in English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) of Hyderabad, triggered violent protests in his home town of Pulwama on Sunday.
Though police and some of his friends in Hyderabad suspected it to be a case of suicide, separatists in Valley have pointed their fingers towards “police and zealous right wing nationalists” accusing them of murdering the youth.
Since morning, sporadic clashes erupted in Malla’s home town of Pulwama in south Kashmir as angry youth pelted the police with stones who in turn fired tear gas shells. The protests later spread further south to Shopian district, even as police and CRPF was deployed in strength to prevent any escalation.
Locals of the town accused that Malla was a victim of “police witch-hunt following the execution of Afzal Guru, subsequent protests by Kashmiris and the recent twin blasts in Hyderabad”. Separatists have given a strike call for Monday and a protest march to Pulwama on Tuesday.
Police in Hyderabad believed that there was no foul play into the death. “No suicide note was found , but going by doctors’ report it is a case of suicide. Still we are investigating the circumstances of his death,” assistant commissioner of police (ACP) in Hyderabad, Ranjan Rathan Kumar told HT.
“In-fact we had received a complaint against the deceased from one of his roommates who was his close friend,” Kumar said.
Malla’s colleagues and friends narrated the issue on similar lines. They said that his room-mate Waseem, a resident of Maharashtra, was his friend for the past many years.
“He was a brave man without an iota of fear. But for the past three months he seemed a bit depressed owing to his friendship with Waseem. The two have been pals from the time they did their masters in English from Pune University,” said close-by Osmania University student Akhtar Rasool, who claimed to have met Malla on Friday.
“Waseem had lodged a complaint with police and proctor of the university following an incident of physical assault. Police took Malla for questioning for some hours but was released on the intervention of students union” Rasool, also a Pulwama resident, stated.
“Later he was found hanging in his room locked from inside”.
The proctor has been charged under section 306-IPC (abetment to suicide) following his ‘counselling’ of Malla after Waseem’s complaint.
But in Kashmir, not many were ready to take suicide angle seriously saying, “Kashmiris were always targeted in other Indian states”.
Separatists have cried conspiracy into the issue.
A joint advisory council of separatists formed to demand the return of Mohammad Afzal Guru’s body to his family called for a complete shutdown on Monday and urged people to march to the “murdered” youth’s home town in Pulwama on Tuesday.
“The death has again strengthened our concern that Kashmiris were not safe in any part of India whether it was a business hub or a place to impart education,” said moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.
Since February 9 hanging of Guru, Kashmir has witnessed seven days of curfew restrictions, and six days of shutdown. Three youths lost their lives during the protests following the execution as severe restrictions were imposed on movement of people.