Executed Afzal Guru’s Tihar Jail co-inmate Ahsan Untoo, now a human rights activist, on Tuesday made an attempt to enact hanging in Srinagar to press for the return of Guru's remains.
Around 2 pm, Untoo, along with two associates, appeared at Lal Chowk with a noose tied around the neck. The alert policemen immediately snatched the rope away.
“I attempted hanging to protest for the return of Guru’s remains to the family. It’s the right of the family…If the government fails to return it, I will launch agitation with other Delhi-based human rights activists,” said Untoo, who claims Guru was not given a fair trial.
Untoo shared a prison barrack with Guru in Delhi’s Tihar Jail between 2007 and 2009. “He (Guru) was prepared for death. He did not fear hanging,” said Untoo.
He claimed Guru was not interested in sports inside the prison but “would debate the future of Kashmir for hours together ”.
“While playing whenever a ball or a feather shuttle would land inside the cell meat for hanging, Guru would volunteer to get it saying ‘this cell is meant for me and nobody else should enter it ever’,” Untoo quoted Guru saying. He claimed Guru was unhappy with separatist leadership's role and its division.
In 2005, Untoo was arrested for attacking the Parliament attack co-accused S.A.R Geelani, a Delhi University professor, in Delhi. He was also booked under Officials Secret Act and for a conspiracy to attack former president A.P.J Abdul Kalam. “I have been acquitted in all cases now,” said Untoo.
Politics over the body of Guru is gaining momentum in Kashmir with both separatists and mainstream political parties demanding its return. Even the militants groups are asking people to join the campaign.
“We should and will continue to demand the return through popular movement but never request or beg for it,” said United Jehad Council chief Syed Salahuddin, who is also Hizbul Mujahideen supremo, on Monday.
Describing the hanging as “judicial murder”, Salahuddin said it has given a new lease of life to the ongoing movement in Kashmir.
Hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Duktaran-e-Milat chief Asiya Andrabi have already threatened a long drawn agitation for the body. A three-day shutdown calendar, starting Wednesday, has been issued by Geelani. Another protest schedule will be made public on coming Saturday.
Meanwhile, Department of Telecommunication has directed closing down of 55 URLs, which include fan pages and support groups of Guru. It also include the pages demanding the body of Guru, who was hanged on February 9 after his conviction in the Parliament attack.