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Jammu Kashmir

Posted at: Feb 10, 2018, 12:50 AM; last updated: Feb 10, 2018, 12:50 AM (IST)

Valley shuts on Afzal’s death anniv

Azhar Qadri

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, February 9

A shutdown was observed across the Kashmir valley on Friday to mark the fifth death anniversary of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

The markets remained closed in all districts of the region and the inter-district and intra-district public transport services remained off the roads.

Afzal, a resident of north Kashmir’s Sopore district who was convicted in the 2001 Parliament attack case, was hanged on February 9, 2013, in Tihar Jail, New Delhi. His body was buried inside the jail premises.

An appeal for the shutdown was made by key separatist leaders of the region, who described Afzal’s “struggle and sacrifices” as a “glorious chapter of our resistance history”. The separatists had called for a strike to be observed across the Valley to press for the demand of returning Afzal Guru’s mortal remains.

Afzal’s early morning hanging in 2013 resonated with the hanging of Mohammad Maqbool Bhat, one of the first militant leaders of Kashmir to be hanged inside Tihar Jail in 1984 and body buried inside the jail.

The separatists have also called for a shutdown on Sunday to commemorate Bhat’s hanging and pay tributes to him in a similar style.

“The struggle, passion for freedom and sacrifices of these great Kashmiris will always remain a guiding light for the Kashmiri nation,” the separatists had said in a statement earlier this week.

The shutdown was also marked by strengthened security alert in the region as additional police and paramilitary forces patrolled the volatile neighbourhoods to prevent any protests.

The weekly midday prayers at Srinagar’s Jamia Masjid were also barred and the mosque and its adjacent neighbourhoods were sealed off for the public. So far, it was for the fourth time this year that the Friday prayers were barred at the mosque.

Meanwhile, the authorities had also imposed restrictions on the movement of locals and blocked the roads to prevent gathering of people in several areas of Srinagar’s old city and in parts of north and south Kashmir.

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