Kashmiri Separatists, Pro-Indian Politicians Warn Against Hanging Guru

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Srinagar, Aug 11: The separatist and pro-Indian leaders in Kashmir have warned the Indian government not to hang Kashmiri detainee Mohamma Afzal Guru for his alleged involved in 2001 Indian Parliament attack.

“If the President of India gives a nod for his (Guru’s) execution, it would evoke a reaction in Kashmir. We will not be silent spectators to this gross injustice. The recommendation by the Government of India is part of “psychological warfare” which India has opened against the people of Kashmir. The uprising of 2008 and 2010 has frightened India and now by hanging Guru it wants to threaten Kashmiris. They are using Afzal Guru’s case to threaten people here,” said senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani.

He said Kashmir was disputed territory and people of the region including Guru lodged in different jails are political prisoners. “If he is hanged, it would be against international law that applies in the conflict Zones. We will react to it,” he said.

Moderate separatist leader and cleric Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said, “Such a decision will be a big blunder. As the peace process between India and Pakistan has again started, such a decision will have dangerous consequences on its future.”

Meanwhile, pro-Indian political group, Peoples Democratic Party has also expressed concern over the possible fallout of the Afzal Guru’s hanging.

“The party’s senior leadership met here today under the chairmanship of the party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and decided to appeal the President to take into consideration the highly sensitive situation in Kashmir which is trying to come to terms with huge material and humanitarian loss that it has suffered over the past two decades,” a PDP spokesman said.

He said party feels that Guru’s is a fit case for displaying compassion in broader national interest even as the party strongly condemns terrorism in any form.

“The party expects the President to take into consideration the universal disapproval of the death penalty and also the highly fragile situation in the state,” the PDP spokesman said.

He said carrying out the death sentence could impede the efforts at finding a way out of the political and humanitarian crisis that the state has been facing.

The Indian government is understood to have recommended to the President rejection of the clemency petition of Parliament attack convict Guru.

“The state and nation of India have to rise above the individual acts of crime, howsoever serious and condemnable they may be, and respond to the larger situation in Kashmir in accordance with our national ethos, understanding and reconciliation,” PDP spokesman said.

He said the punishment, if carried out, would only add to the trust deficit between Jammu and Kashmir and rest of the country.

In a related development, the chief interlocutor appointed by Indian government on Kashmir Dilip Padgaonkar said decision on Guru’s case could have repercussions in the Valley.

He has drawn a parallel with the hanging of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front founder Maqbool Bhatt.

“I am principally opposed to capital punishment. But if the country’s highest court has convicted him (Afzal Guru) and given him the death penalty that has to be respected. We saw the kind of reaction in Kashmir to the Maqbool Bhatt episode, so one can only speculate what kind of a reaction this would have,” said Padgaonkar.

He said his ganging could cause problems. “Kashmir has been peaceful this summer and this could cause problems there,” Padgaonkar said.