Valley's protest against Guru conviction continues
28 September 2006
The Daily Excelsior
From Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
Srinagar: While the Valley is preparing for a massive protest and shutdown against the execution of the Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru around the end of the holy month of Ramzan, dozens of protest demonstrations were witnessed at several places on the second consecutive day today. Call for Friday's shutdown has been given by hardline Hurriyat supremo Syed Ali Shah Geelani and supported by guerrilla organisation Hizbul Mujahideen as well as the alliance of 14 Kashmiri militant outfits, Muttahida Jihad Council (MJC). A day after almost all the separatist political parties issued statements against Afzal Guru's scheduled execution at Delhi's Tihar Jail, National Conference leaders Omar Abdullah and Dr Mehboob Beg today demanded that the decision of hanging Guru to death should be reviewed. Omar cautioned in his statement that the situation had always deteriorated after all of such executions. Dr Beg has implored President of India to intervene and get the execution deferred. He has said that Government of India, which had set free terror gurus like Masood Azhar, had no point in hanging a Kashmiri Muslim youth to death in the holy month of Ramzan. CPI(M) State Secretary Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami and President of PDP, Mehbooba Mufti, had yesterday itself questioned the wisdom of executing Afzal Guru at a time when New Delhi was apparently building bridges with Srinagar and Islamabad and a peace process was underway. Kashmir's religious head, Mufti Azad Mufti Bashir-ud-din today said that he would write to President of India and seek his intervention in favour of not implementing the death sentence. Democratic Freedom Party chief Shabir Shah's paid advertisement in local newspapers today asked the Kashmiris to come out on the streets and get united in order to register their strong protest against the alleged political assassination. Geelani has called for total shutdown in the Valley. His call has been supported by formidable militant organisation, Hizbul Mujahideen, as well as PoK-based alliance of 14 Kashmiri militant groups, MJC, headed by Hizb 'Supreme Commander' Syed Salah-ud-din. Geelani has not been allowed to move out of his Hyderpora house since Wednesday. A group of Geelani supporters, led by former militant Saleem Zargar, marched from Rajbagh towards Civil Lines today. Police swooped on the thin demonstration with tearsmoke and baton charge and dispersed it by force. Female constituent of Geelani's Hurriyat, Muslim Khawateen Markaz, also formed a thin procession and began marching towards Civil Lines. Head of another Hurriyat (G) constituent, Ghulam Nabi Sumjhi of Muslim Conference, took out another thin procession from Maisuma. Both were dispersed by Police with force. Over a dozen separatist activists were either injured or detained amid these clashes with Police. Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and a number of its constituents also staged demonstrations and protests with pro-azadi slogans at several places in downtown. Yet another protest demonstration was organised by High Court Bar Association headed by Mian Abdul Qayoom. The lawyers' rally dismissed Guru's conviction as 'murder of democracy' and carried black badges and placards through different streets in Civil Lines. Democratic Liberation Party of Hashim Qureshi and Salvation Movement of Zafar Akbar Bhat also contributed to today's protests by organising thin rallies at two places in uptown. Reports from Kulgam said that a demonstration condemned Guru's conviction as hundreds of participants shouted slogans and demanded 'protection of peace process'. Reports said that the participants clashed with Police when some of them were taken into custody. Officials confirmed that over two dozen activists were detained at different places but most of them were released in the evening.