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 in New Delhi of Afzal Guru for the December 2001 Parliament House attack, and demanded 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 the Indian civil society to intervene to secure the release of Afzal 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.”
Afzal Guru’s hanging might derail the non-violent movement in the Kashmir Valley, Mr. Malik said. Recalling the execution of JKLF co-founder Maqbool Bhat in 1984, he said that incident made an otherwise peaceful society pick up the gun. The Indian state — by buckling under pressure of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh — has created a situation where the youth may feel pushed towards violence again, he said.
Mr. Malik, along with some other local members of the JKLF, began the hunger strike outside the National Press Club in the evening and planned to stay there till Sunday evening.
Earlier in the day, the Jamat ‘ud’ Da’wah (JuD) staged a protest here, Lahore and Karachi to protest Afzal Guru’s hanging. Describing the execution as “judicial terrorism”, JuD has stepped up pressure to hang 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.”
This is a murder of the law and the Constitution of India: Malik Afzal Guru’s judicial murder is a travesty of justice that Kashmir is facing since seven decades: JuD
This is a murder of the law and the Constitution of India: Malik
Afzal Guru’s judicial murder is a travesty of justice that Kashmir is facing since seven decades: JuD