Mr. Malik along with some other local members of the JKLF began their hunger strike outside the National Press Club in the evening and planned to stay there through the night till Sunday evening.

Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Yasin Malik - who is on a visit to Pakistan - started a 24-hour hunger strike in the federal capital on Saturday evening to condemn the hanging of Afzal Guru for the December 2001 Parliament House attack, and demand the handing over of his body to the family.

Addressing the media before launching his protest action, Mr. Malik questioned the timing of the hanging and urged Indian civil society to intervene to secure the release of Guru's body to his family. ``The family was not allowed access to him prior to his execution either.''

Of the view that Afzal Guru had been sacrificed at the altar of electoral politics, the JKLF leader said: ``This is a murder of the law and the Constitution of India.'' Asked if he was in favour of Pakistan executing Sarabjit Singh - who is on death row in Lahore's Kot Lakpat Jail for an alleged terror attack - Mr. Malik said categorically: ``I do not support capital punishment and am opposed to a reciprocal execution.''

As for the impact of Guru's hanging on the Valley, Mr. Malik was apprehensive of it derailing the non-violent movement there. Recalling the execution of JKLF co-founder Maqbool Bhat in 1984, he said that one incident made an otherwise peaceful society to pick up the gun, and the Indian State - by buckling to the pressure of the Rashtriya Swayamasevak Sangh - has created a situation where the youth may feel pushed towards violence again.

Mr. Malik along with some other local members of the JKLF began their hunger strike outside the National Press Club in the evening and planned to stay there through the night till Sunday evening.

Earlier in the day, the Jamat-ud-Da'wah (JuD) staged a protest in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi to protest Guru's hanging. Describing Guru's execution as ``judicial terrorism'', the JuD has stepped up pressure to hang Sarabjit Singh. ``Afzal Guru's judicial murder is a travesty of justice that Kashmir is facing since seven decades. The way he was treated reflects the whole picture of what India has done to the valley of Kashmir.''