In a first ever public appearance, a splinter group of Hurriyat led by Shabir Shah on Thursday made executed Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s son Ghalib Guru to share a dais with separatists, academics and speakers in a seminar.
The seminar was organised by the the moderate Hurriyat at a hotel in Srinagar screened a documentary on Guru and separatist Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) founder Maqbool Bhat, who was also hanged inside Tihar Jail.
The screening was followed by sloganeering in favour of Guru and Bhat.
Ghalib, a Class-9 student, was seen crying on the dais and refused to say anything. Guru’s father-in-law and brother also attended the seminar.
Ghalib's mother was quoted by a newspaper recently saying he still believes "his father was alive". It was his first ever public appearance after his execution on February 9, 2013.
The day-long seminar concluded with a resolution passed by several separatist leaders — including Shah, Nayeem Khan, Mushtaq-ul-Islam — who recently left the Mirwaiz group.
“India should immediately handover the mortal remains of Bhat and Guru to their kith and kin,” read the resolution.
These separatists also rejected dialogue process “if it is without the real representatives of Kashmiri people to resolve the dispute.”
“Any confidence building measure (CBM) regarding Kashmir should be of political nature and no other CBM is acceptable to the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” it said.
Immediately after the seminar, police arrested Shah, Khan, Islam and their supporters.
With just two days to first death anniversary of Guru, the police have started rounding up separatist leaders and supporters across the Valley to foil any attempt to carry out rallies and seminars.
“The police since early morning started a search of various JKLF leaders and hundreds of activists across the Valley,” a JKLF spokesperson said.
Several leaders of the hardline Hurriyat, headed by Syed Ali Geelani, have also been arrested. Geelani has called for a three-day shutdown starting February 9. The hardline leader, who is in Delhi these days, is scheduled to reach Srinagar soon to lead public rallies on the first death anniversary of Guru.