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Seer Jagir remembers Guru as intelligent boy who made it to medical school

india Updated: Feb 10, 2013 00:14 IST
Toufiq Rashid
Toufiq Rashid
Hindustan Times
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Seer Jagir, an affluent hamlet in the Sopore area, about 50 km north of Srinagar, erupted into clashes on Saturday. A group of youth came out on to the streets demanding the body of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru. Guru, who was hanged in Tihar jail in Delhi in the morning, was a resident of the village.

According to reports, however, he was buried in the jail against the wishes of the people and family.

The clashes left 11 injured, two of them seriously.

Meanwhile, Guru's family claimed it was not informed about the execution or the rejection of the mercy plea by the President.

Speaking to Hindustan Times, Guru's cousin, Yaseen Guru, said they got to know about the execution through television channels and social networking sites.

"We had no idea; we were woken up by people, and got to know when things were being debated and posted on Facebook," said Yaseen.

"We have got no letter; no family member has been informed as opposed to what the government is claiming," he added.

"His wife had appealed for mercy. She should have been informed that the plea had been rejected. We got to know about that from the national television in the morning," he added.

The government, however, had maintained that the family was informed about his hanging by the Tihar authorities and the Jammu and Kashmir government was taken into confidence before the execution.

"They (Tihar jail authorities) intimated the family through speed post, registered post and the DG (director general of Jammu and Kashmir Police) has been told to check with the family whether they got it or not," union home secretary RK Singh told reporters in New Delhi.

Aijaz Guru, Afzal's elder brother, confirmed that they had asked for the body. "We have approached the deputy commissioner here. Have spoken to lawyers in Delhi and also tried to contact the Tihar authorities for the body," he added.

"I had left the mosque after the morning prayers when a friend called me saying Afzal had been hanged. That's the first time we heard about the hanging," Aijaz said.

Guru, who belonged to an upper middle class family in the prosperous apple town in Sopore, is survived by brothers Aijaz and Hilal, besides wife Tabassum and 13-year-old son Ghalib. While his mother died of a stomach ailment last year, Guru's father had died many years before Guru took to arms in the early 90s. After having lost his father at the age of 10, Afzal had dedicated himself to studies, which got him through in the prestigious medical entrance of the state.

Guru joined the medical college for a year and made a name for self with ghazals and poetry. He, however, left to join militant ranks in the early 90s.

His family says a "reformed Afzal later regretted the decision and completed his graduation in Delhi".

The family claims that Guru was preparing for civil services at the time of his arrest.

Guru was charged with providing logistic support to the 'fidayeens' in New Delhi for carrying out terror attacks on Parliament and the embassies.

The Delhi police said Afzal possessed explosives at his place in the capital. The police chargesheet said he conspired to commit and knowingly facilitate the commission of a terrorist act, and harboured and concealed the terrorists. He was charged under the Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act.

A special anti-terrorist court sentenced Afzal to death, and the Supreme Court upheld the punishment.