Sunday, Feb 17, 2019 | Last Update : 09:19 PM IST

Kashmir Valley shut on Maqbool Butt death anniversary

THE ASIAN AGE. | YUSUF JAMEEL
Published : Feb 12, 2019, 2:19 am IST
Updated : Feb 12, 2019, 2:19 am IST

Meanwhile, Kashmir valley was shut on Monday to commemorate the 35th death anniversary of Butt.

Meanwhile, Kashmir valley was shut on Monday to commemorate the 35th death anniversary of Butt.
 Meanwhile, Kashmir valley was shut on Monday to commemorate the 35th death anniversary of Butt.

Srinagar: Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) MP Muhammad Fayaz Mir has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking return of the mortal remains of pro-independence Jammu Kashmiri National Liberation (JKNLF) co-founder Muhammad Maqbool Butt and Parliament attack convict Muhammad Afzal Guru to their families.

Butt and Guru were hanged in Delhi’s Tihar jail on February 11, 1984 and February 9, 2013, respectively.

Meanwhile, Kashmir valley was shut on Monday to commemorate the 35th death anniversary of Butt.

Mr Mir, in his letter to the Prime Minister said, “In a country where killers of an elected Prime Minister were granted clemency and their death sentence was commuted, I do not think it is appalling or disrespectful to seek return of mortal remains of two Kashmiri men to their families.”

He has asked, “How can dead bodies of two Kashmiri men, who lost their dignity in gallows be a threat to a democracy like India? Is the collective conscience of India sans the collective conscience of Kashmiris?” The letter further read, “I can with utmost responsibility say that should the government of India decide to act upon this request, the animosity of Kashmiris and their sense of alienation can be brought down by several notches”.

Mr. Mir said that Kashmir today stands on the edge, the “reality” no one can overlook. “In this troubled time, granting our request would be like a balm on old wounds that are unhealed even after so many years. This will also be in line with religious practices of the deceased persons,” the letter read.

A shutdown called by joint resistance leadership (JRL), the alliance of key separatist leaders on the anniversary of Butt brought life to a standstill in major parts of the valley. Butt’s supporters joined pro-independence activists also in Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir, Pakistan and in different parts of Europe, the Gulf and the US to hold rallies to commemorate his “martyrdom.” Neel Kanth Ganjoo, the judge who had sentenced Butt to death on the charge of murdering an Indian intelligence officer Amar Chand in Bomai area of Sopore in Baramulla district way back in mid-1960s was shot dead from point blank range in Srinagar’s Hari Singh High Street allegedly by the JKLF militants in 1990.

On Monday, the local police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) enforced strict security restrictions in some sensitive parts of Srinagar including Maisuma to thwart protests planned by separatists on Butt’s anniversary. However, a group of second-rung leaders of the JRL and supporters including women emerged of the dark alleys of Maisuma in the afternoon, chanting “We want freedom” and “Return the mortal remains of Maqbool Butt to us”. The police quickly swung into action and detained them for the rest of the day.

Earlier the authorities had placed key separatist leaders and activists under house arrest or detained them in police stations ahead of the death anniversaries of Butt and Guru.

Tags: muhammad maqbool butt, fayaz mir