3 dead in Kashmir protests


SRINAGAR, India — Three young people have died in violence in Indian-controlled Kashmir despite a curfew that continued for a third day Monday following the execution of a Kashmiri man convicted in a deadly 2001 attack on India’s Parliament.

Mohammed Afzal Guru was hanged in New Delhi early Saturday. Ahead of the execution, authorities ordered people in most of the Indian-held part of the disputed Kashmir region to remain indoors indefinitely in anticipation of anti-India protests.


Despite the curfew, protests and clashes between troops and demonstrators broke out at a dozen places in the region Monday. Police and paramilitary soldiers fired tear gas and used batons to chase away rock-throwing protesters, police said.

Guru’s execution is an extremely sensitive matter in the Himalayan region, where most people believe his trial was not fair. Several rights groups in India, and political groups in Indian Kashmir, also questioned the fairness of his trial.

Monday’s protests coincided with the 29th anniversary of the execution of Mohammed Maqbool Butt, the founder of the pro-independence Jammu-Kashmir Liberation Front. Several activists tried to hold a procession in Butt’s honor in Srinagar, the main city in the region, but police chased them away.


ntelligence officer and he was hanged in 1984 in the same New Delhi jail where Guru was executed.

In Watergam village near the town of Sopore, which was Guru’s home, a 12-year-old boy, Obaid Mushtaq, died early Monday of injuries after police and paramilitary troops fired tear gas shells and bullets a day earlier to disperse an angry crowd, hospital official Aijaz Mustafa said. He said an 18-year-old boy injured in the clashes was on life support. At least two other people were also injured, police said.

Another young man died in Sumbal village in northern Kashmir on Sunday after he jumped into a frigid river while trying to run away from troops who were firing tear gas and swinging batons. The body of a high school student who had been missing since Sunday’s protest was also recovered from the river on Monday, police said.

Thousands attended the funeral processions of the two young men on Monday, shouting slogans such as “We want freedom.”

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HOW DO you introduce yourself to people you have just met? In my case, it’s easiest and most accurate to say I am a photographer. Sometimes, I may introduce myself as someone who loves motorcycles. And beer. I might talk about the school or college I went to. Or that I am from Delhi, have lived and been educated in the city all my life. My parents live here, my grandparents lived here. Perhaps, at a visa office, I might describe myself as ‘Indian’.

If I belong to any nation though, it’s the nation of photographers, or of owners of beautiful Enfields. Or so I thought.

Last Saturday, I found myself at Jantar Mantar on assignment. It was the usual chaos of a functioning democracy. I was there for the small knot of protesters against the government’s decision to hang Afzal Guru. When I was in school, student body elections involved racing out into the corridor and screaming the name of your preferred candidate as loudly as you could. It was delirious, exhilarating. The fun was in shouting down the opposition. Of course, we did actually vote. So the groups who shouted loudest didn’t necessarily win. It’s a lesson you learn early.

At Jantar Mantar, there were many groups, shouting for many things. There was a group of RWAs from Ghaziabad, demanding, according to their banners, a wider road. A man in white was giving a stirring speech. “About tarmac?” I wondered as I made my way towards the cheers, “How exciting could that be?” “Now that we have killed Afzal Guru, it’s time to get the rest of his family. Put each and every one of them in jail.” Ah, the road can wait. He was drawing applause from other groups, from those who support capital punishment, from those who want the formation of ‘Gorkhaland’. From the biggest group present at Jantar Mantar: the police.


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"How many people find fault in what they're reading and the fault is in their own understanding" Al Mutanabbi