Demand for Maqbool Bhat’s proper burial

10 February 2009
The Dawn

Srinagar: Scores of protesters demonstrated here on Tuesday to demand ‘a proper burial’ for a Kashmiri leader hanged a quarter century ago. The demonstration was held in Srinagar by activists of the pro-independence Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front. Maqbool Bhat was hanged in New Delhi’s Tihar jail on Feb 11, 1984, on a charge of killing an intelligence officer. Supporters say the charge was trumped up.The body of Maqbool Bhat, founder of the JKLF, a leading political group, was buried afterwards inside Tihar jail. “We urge the world community to use their influence over India in releasing the mortal remains of martyr Maqbool Bhat,” senior JKLF leader Bashir Bhat told the protesters. Five years after Bhat’s death, the JKLF launched an armed struggle against Indian occupation in the scenic Muslim-majority Himalayan region that has left tens of thousands of people dead. The protesters carried placards featuring Bhat’s photograph and banners demanding the return of his body for ‘a proper burial.’ The JKLF announced a ceasefire in 1994 against Indian forces and said it would pursue its struggle for Kashmir’s independence through political means.