Srinagar, Feb 15: Almost a week after parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s hanging, curfew in the Kashmir Valley entered seventh day to prevent post-Friday prayer protests.
This will be the first Friday after the parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was hanged in New Delhi’s Tihar jail Feb 9.
Senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani, who had earlier called for a march to the Martyrs’ graveyard in Eidgah area, has now asked people to to offer funeral prayers in absentia and raise a collective demand for return of Afzal Guru’s body to his kin at their local mosque.
In old city areas of summer capital Srinagar, Baramulla, Sopore, Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian towns uninterrupted curfew entered the seventh day.
In other towns and the civilian line areas of Srinagar, city authorities had relaxed curfew restrictions during the last two days but prohibitory orders persist.
“We have imposed curfew in the Kashmir Valley today (Friday) to maintain law and order. Tensions are high at many places here,” a senior police officer told IANS.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had asked separatist leaders not to prolong the shutdown.
Omar said he cannot prevent people from identifying with Afzal Guru.
“…This is not a totalitarian state,” he had said.
More than 40 youths have been taken into custody during the last six days during clashes with the security forces or during night raids at some places.
The youths would be released after the Friday prayers as they have been taken into preventive custody to ensure that miscreants do not incite people to violence after the day’s congregational prayers, the officer said.
There is heavy deployment of police and paramilitary central reserve police force (CRPF) in all the cities and towns of the valley.
A senior official of the state government has confirmed that the letter written by Afzal’s wife Tabassum for returning her husband’s body forwarded by the state home department to the union home ministry (MHA) has been received in New Delhi.
“The letter has been acknowledged by the MHA,” the official said.