As we expected, the hanging of Afzal Guru has tipped valley into fresh turmoil. Government has placed valley under a stringent curfew to prevent people from venting their anger on the streets. But despite that, there have been protests and stone throwing in many parts of the valley with Sopore, the hometown of Guru, witnessing the large scale unrest. What is sad is that all this was preventable, had the centre chosen to be more circumspect and commuted and the death sentence to Guru. However, as Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has indicated in his interview to some TV channels, it may not be the street reaction to the Guruís hanging that is the real point of concern. Government has put enough security measures in place to ward off such a possibility.
The real concern is that the hanging is perceived in Kashmir as yet another proof of the fact that New Delhi is least bothered about their sensitivities and sentiments. And in Guruís case, people in Kashmir validly believed that he was sacrificed at the altar of the unfolding politics of the country in the run up to 2014 election. The timing of the hanging is telling: Guru was sent to gallows just around the time the right wing Gujrarat chief minister Narendra Modi is riding high on his third successive electoral win in Gujarat and emerging as a serious contender for the prime ministership of the country.
The point is that considering the huge stakes involved, with profound bearing on the future of Kashmir it seemed but reasonable that centre will commute the death sentence to Guru. But while New Delhi and the political opinion in India has shown some mindfulness of the sensitivities in case of the high profile death row convicts in Tamil Nadu and Punjab with arguably lesser political ramifications-Guru was hauled to gallows in dismissive disregard to the public sentiment in Kashmir. This is a sad state of affairs. As Omar has noted, the hanging will become a permanent reference point in Kashmir and stay with generations of Kashmiris Ė a too great a cost to pay for the demands of ephemeral politics.
Lastupdate on : Sun, 10 Feb 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sun, 10 Feb 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Mon, 11 Feb 2013 00:00:00 IST
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