Protests Kill One After India Hangs Man For 2001 Parliament Attack
Protests broke out in Kashmir after India hanged a man responsible for the attack on the country’s parliament in 2001. Clashes between protesters and police killed at least one and wounded dozens more.
President Pranab Mukherjee rejected a mercy plea for the man, Mohammad Afzal Guru, who was hanged at 8 am local time in Tihar hail in New Delhi, India’s capital.
Security forces anticipated protests for Guru’s hanging and imposed a curfew in parts of Kashmir, though protesters largely ignored them, reports Reuters.
Guru comes from the Indian part of Kashmir and was convicted of helping to organize arms for the men who attacked the parliament building. He was also convicted of providing a place for them to stay. Despite the conviction, Guru maintained his innocence until the end.
Al Jazeera adds that at least four people were wounded in Watergam, a village near Sopore, which was Guru’s home. Police and paramilitary troops fired tear gas and bullets into the crowd of protesters.
Four policemen were also injured in separate crashes. In all, 23 troops and 13 protesters were injured in Saturday’s demonstrations.
Mohammad Afzal Guru’s execution was sensitive in the Himalayan region. The majority of people in the area believed that the Kashmiri man’s trial was not fair. Several rights groups have also criticized the trial for the same reasons.
Guru was initially convicted for his part in the 2001 parliament attack in 2002. He was scheduled for execution in October 2006, but it was delayed after his wife filed a mercy petition with India’s president. That petition was denied last week.
Following Guru’s hanging, barricades were erected and hundreds of police and paramilitary force members were deployed to deal with protesters. Hilal Ahmad War, leader of a separatist faction in Kashmir, stated, “The hanging of Afzal Guru is a declaration of war by India.”
Guru’s brother, Ahaz Ahmad Guru, stated on Saturday that the man was not given a fair trial. He added that authorities didn’t warn Guru’s family of his impending execution. Ajaz added, “At least the government should have given the family a chance to meet him. He didn’t get a fair trial. His wife is in deep shock.”