Despite the imposition of curfew, the shutting down of local cable TV operations and SMSs, at least 50 persons including a Superintendent of Police were injured in different incidents of violence across the Kashmir valley triggered by Saturday’s execution of Afzal Guru.
Inspector General of Police, Kashmir, Shiv Murari Sahai called up all territorial DIGs, SSPs and SPs from 2.30 a.m. to 3.00 a.m. and advised them to enforce curfew across the valley, senior officials told The Hindu. The sources said that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who was informed by Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde on Friday night of the decision to hang Afzal, asked the police to enforce curfew but exercise “maximum possible restraint.”
While the heads of both factions of the separatist Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, were in New Delhi and the JKLF Chairman Yasin Malik in Pakistan, several of their colleagues were put under house arrest.
In Srinagar, the only organized demonstration was witnessed at Maisuma where an activist was detained for violating curfew. Reports said independent MLA Engineer Rasheed led a demonstration at Handwara. The demonstrators seemed to be heading towards Sopore. The police dispersed the procession.
Police officials said 5,000 people gathered in the forenoon at Jageer, Afzal Guru’s residential village in Sopore. They participated in a ghaibana namaz-e-janazah and demanded the former JKLF militant’s body for funeral rites. Guru’s wife, Tabassum, who works at a relative’s nursing home at Sopore and was on duty till 8.00 am, also reached there along with her teenage son Ghalib. Guru’s family said neither his wife nor any other family member was informed by the authorities about his impending execution or the actual hanging.
Police officials described the situation as ‘tense but under control.’ However, the calm was mainly attributed to the strict enforcement of curfew and other measures including the freezing of SMSs and restricting access to the social media. In all, thin crowds blocked the roads and clashed with police and paramilitary forces at twenty to thirty places in the valley.
As the crowd marching towards Sopore approached Mazbug bridge, the troops directed it to disperse. A clash ensured, leading to firing by the Army.