Known for spontaneous reactions, people and political parties in Kashmir on Wednesday were unusually cautious and mute in reacting to the hanging of the Mumbai attacks convict Ajmal Kasab.
However, they are unsure over the fate of the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, who is on a death row.
Hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani issued a press statement but gave a miss to Kasab's hanging. "If SK Shinde still does not know what people of Kashmir want then he has no right to assume the office of Indian home minister," said Geelani in his reaction to the home minister's Tuesday's offer for dialogue. But 82-year-old Geelani avoided any reaction to Kasab's hanging.
Moderate Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq chose to be mute over the hanging. Opposition Peoples Democratic Party too declined to comment.
Chief minister Omar Abdullah was the first to react within two hours of the hanging. "Gotta hand it to the governments at the centre and in Mumbai for the mature way they handled this. Shows we can still keep a secret if we need to (sic)," wrote Abdullah on social networking site Twitter.
Omar was angry with the Western media describing Kasab as a gunman. "So Hamas are terrorists but Kasab was a "gunman". Well done American media you really call it like it is 'sarcasm' (sic)," wrote Omar.
The news of hanging did spark a token protest at Maisuma near Lal Chowk where youth burnt tyres and shopkeepers downed shutters for a brief period. Other volatile areas of Srinagar's Lal Chowk, old city and north Kashmir's Sopore remained calm and peaceful till late afternoon.
There was a massive protest by students over Gaza situation at Kashmir University but students avoided commenting on Kasab's hanging.
While most people reserved their comments on Kasab, Guru's fate and implications of his hanging weighed heavy on peoples mind.
"Will they hang Guru secretly and bury him in a jail? That will be dangerous," said Rayees Qureshi at Srinagar's famous newspaper stall Khan News Agency.
A strong advocate of clemency for Guru, independent legislator Abdul Rasheed said, "Right to Live is supreme and should be respected at all costs. That is why we have been constantly appealing for accepting clemency petition of Guru...Kashmiris have a right to know why justice is being delayed in case of fake encounters, custodial killings and other human rights abuses when it comes to Kashmir."
Rashid said people of Kashmir neither liked the deaths of innocents of the 26/11attacks nor will they celebrate the death punishment given to Kasab.