Conflict & Justice

Protests over execution of Kashmiri militant Mohammad Afzal Guru leaves three dead


Activists defy a curfew in Kashmir Valley on Feb. 11, 2013.



Clashes over the hanging execution of Kashmiri militant Mohammad Afzal Guru have left three people dead.

India secretly executed Guru, 43, who was from the disputed Kashmir region, on Saturday morning in a New Delhi prison for his involvement in an attack on the nation's Parliament in 2001, the Associated Press wrote.

The attack, which India blamed partly on Pakistani intelligence, led to a deterioration of relations between the two Asian countries, though Pakistan denied involvement in the attack.

India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir, and an 18-year old insurgency has left more than 43,000 people dead.

India convicted Guru of arranging the supply of weapons for the 2001 attack, in which five militants — allegedly from the Pakistan-based militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed — stormed the building, killing eight policeman and a gardener.

Delhi announced Guru's execution later Sunday and said he had been buried inside Tihar prison in the Indian capital, New Delhi.

Russia Today cited European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton as denouncing the execution, saying:

"While recognizing that terrible murders were committed at the heart of this case and aware of the suffering of the victims and their families, the EU reiterates its principled opposition to the death penalty under all circumstances and calls on India to re-establish a moratorium on executions, in line with the global trend towards the abolition of capital punishment." 

According to IANS, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah criticized the execution as selective and politically motivated.

However,  India's ruling Congress party defended the hanging, with Congress spokesperson Sandeep Dikshit saying:

"Three separate courts found him guilty. The Supreme Court upheld it."

According to the Associated Press, ahead of the execution the authorities had ordered people in Indian-controlled Kashmir to remain indoors indefinitely.

However, despite the curfew hundreds joined in heated protests Sunday, clashing with troops across the region.