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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Sep 2014

Afzal Guru Execution

36 injured in Valley, Omar appeals for peace
Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times
Srinagar, February 10, 2013
First Published: 01:03 IST(10/2/2013)
Last Updated: 02:17 IST(10/2/2013)

Curfew was imposed in major towns in the Valley, including Srinagar city, and cable television and mobile internet services were suspended following the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru on Saturday.

Sporadic clashes between protesters and law enforcement personnel were reported in which 36 people, including 23 policemen, were injured.

Police resorted to firing in Khanpura, Zahgeer and Hyhan in Sopore, Afzal’s hometown, in which four people were injured. The condition of the four, who were taken to hospital, was reported to be stable.

J&K chief minister Omar Abdullah, who had opposed the hanging saying it would throw the Valley into chaos, returned to Srinagar from New Delhi following the news of the hanging and appealed for peace.

In a guarded statement, Omar appealed to people to allow the “time to pass peacefully”, adding that he had issued orders to paramilitary forces and police to show “utmost restraint”.

Abdullah said he was informed of the government’s decision to hang Afzal at 8pm on Friday.

Abdullah made it clear that unlike Maqbool Bhat, who was hanged in Tihar jail on February 11, 1983, after he was found guilty of murdering a bank manger in border district of Kupwara, in Guru’s case, the state government had no role to play.

“I want to make it clear that unlike in the Maqbool Bhat case, the state was not required to sign any death warrant as there was no case against him in the state,” Abdullah said.

The chief minister added, “I understand there is certain degree of angst and there are some people who would like to take advantage of the situation.

I appeal to the people to allow us to get through this period with peace and not resort to violent protests.”

People in Sopore and Guru’s family have asked for his body to be returned for proper burial.

Meanwhile, Hurriyat Conference leaders have been put under house arrest. Both hardliner Syed Ali Geelani and moderate Mirwaiz Umar Farooq are in Delhi.

Farooq declared fours day of mourning to protest the hanging.


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