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HindustanTimes Fri,19 Sep 2014

Afzal Guru Execution

Guru was not so bad, say Sopore villagers
Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times
Srinagar, February 10, 2013
First Published: 01:09 IST(10/2/2013)
Last Updated: 02:24 IST(10/2/2013)

Violence erupted in Seer Jagir, an affluent hamlet in Sopore, in the aftermath of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru's hanging.

A group of youths came out on the streets to demand 39-year-old Guru's body. Guru, who was hanged early morning in Tihar Jail in Delhi, was resident of the village. The clashes left 11 injured, two of them seriously.

Guru, who belonged to an upper-middle class family in Sopore, is survived by his two brothers Aijaz and Hilal, besides wife Tabasum and 13-year-old son Galib.

While his mother died due to a stomach ailment last year, Guru's father had died many years before he took to arms in the early 90s.

For the villagers, Guru was not driven to the ranks of the militants for money or power but ideology.

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Guru belonged to an influential family in the villages while most people strived hard to make ends meet. His father was the proud owner of an Ambassador car and a television set in the early 70s.

The village recalled Guru to be an intelligent student who painstakingly climbed his way from a government school in a village to medical college.

They also said he was a loving son who helped his mother with household chores after her health deteriorated following the death of a child in an accident, and a hardworking student who would walk miles to reach his school and still score better than most of his classmates.

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

According to his family, a "reformed Afzal" later regretted the decision and completed his graduation in Delhi.

The family further claims that Guru was preparing for his civil services examinations 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 government symbols such as Parliament and embassies.

The Delhi police had said that Guru kept explosives at his Delhi residence.

The chargesheet also accused him of conspiring to commit and knowingly facilitate the commission of a terrorist act, besides harbouring terrorists even after knowing their true identity.

He was charged under the Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act (POTA).

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

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