Everyday protests and demonstration rallies have been replaced by the mood of celebration and festivity in the Valley following the deferring of the death sentence of Afzal Guru, the convict in the Parliament attack case of December 2001.
Everywhere people are seen shopping immensely for the celebrations of Eid after the month of Ramadan, observed as fasting by the Muslim community throughout.
Kashmir Valley witnessed daily shutdowns, protest demonstration and rallies after a Delhi court fixed October 20, as the day of execution of Afzal Guru.
Angry people were of the opinion that Afzal was made a scapegoat in the parliament attack case and were demanding clemency for him.
The Chairman of the breakaway hard-line faction of the All Party Hurriyat Conference Syed Ali Shah Geelani had declared three days of mourning in the Valley if Afzal was hanged on October 20 as per the orders of the Delhi court.
But Afzal’s execution was postponed following the mercy petition filed by his family to the president of India. "The situation would have gone worst if Afzal would have been hanged as per the schedule. The date of his hanging came as a shock for the people of the valley as it was the jumatul wida (last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan). People were anxious and were in a perplexed situation till the morning of 20 October, when they came to know that following the mercy petition filed by Afzal’s family to the president of India has deferred his death sentence. The news came as a sign of relief for the people of the valley," Shabir Ahmed Shah, Chairman of the separatist Democratic Freedom party told HT.
Adding he said, "This year’s Eid would not have been an Eid for the people of the valley instead a festival to mourn if Afzal would have been hanged, he is innocent as the supreme court of India had stated that there was no concrete evidence against him and that death sentence awarded to him was the outcome of the sentiments of the people of India."
The postponement of the death sentence of Afzal Guru, whom the people of the valley claim to be an ‘innocent implicated in a fabricated and false case’ has brought a reason to celebrate the upcoming Eid. "This is one of the very auspicious occasions for the Muslim community through out the globe as Eid is the day of feast that comes after a month long fasting and preying. And the postponement of Afzal’s death sentence has added a flavour to this year’s Eid, as no-one in Valley would have celebrated this day if our innocent brother would have been hanged just before the auspicious day."
Said Abdul Rasheed a resident of Old town Baramulla. People in the Valley are in the mood to celebrate and the business community is taking a good benefit out of it. Confectionary and bakery sellers are having a boon time as their items are in great demand these days. Everywhere in the Valley confectionary and bakery sellers are seen with big stalls outside their shops thronged with a heavy rush of customers.
"Bakery and confectionary is consumed in a huge amount during Eid as people visit each other’s house. At first we were afraid of a decline in our sale if people observed Eid as a day of mourning if Afzal Guru would have been hanged, but thank God that is not the case and our sale is on a steep rise," said Bashir Ahmed a bakery seller in Baramulla. Not only the sale of bakery and confectionary has seen a rise in the valley, but also this year the sale of fire crackers in the valley is also on a rise. "We never had such a sale, but this season our business is also flourishing." Said Nasir Ahmed a hawker selling fire crackers in the main chowk Baramulla.