Hanging of Kashmiri separatist sparks protests in Pakistan

February 10, 2013 - 1:41:44 am

MUZAFFARABAD: Hundreds of protesters rallied in Muzaffarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, to condemn the execution of a Kashmiri separatist in India yesterday.

Mohammed Afzal Guru, a one-time fruit merchant, was hanged at New Delhi’s Tihar Jail early yesterday over his role in a deadly attack on the Indian parliament in 2001, after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected a mercy plea.

Some 400 protesters gathered in Muzaffarabad, burning Indian flags and chanting slogans including “down with India, down with India’s farce democracy, we will continue Guru’s mission”, a  reporter said.

The rally was organised by Pasban-e-Hurriyat, an organisation representing Kashmiris who migrated to Pakistani Kashmir from the Indian-administered part of the disputed Himalayan region.

Hurriyat chief Uzair Ahmad Ghazali condemned the hanging and announced that his supporters would stage a sit-in in front of the United Nations office in Muzaffarabad tomorrow.

The government of Pakistan-administered Kashmir announced three days of mourning across the state to mark Guru’s hanging.

“The state’s flag will fly half-mast during the mourning, which started from today,” Murtaza Durrani, a state government adviser, said.

He said Guru was hanged under “draconian laws” and claimed that “courts in India are not free and independent”. 

Guru was found guilty of conspiring with and sheltering the militants who attacked the Indian parliament in December 2001.

He was also held guilty of being a member of the banned Islamist group Jaish-e-Mohammed, which fights against Indian rule in the divided region of Kashmir.