Protest strike shuts down Kashmir


The people of Indian-administered Kashmir have held a complete shutdown strike to protest the secret execution of a Kashmiri man by the Indian government, Press TV reports.

Indian authorities hanged Mohammad Afzal Guru on February 9 in a New Delhi prison for his role in the December 2001 attacks on the Indian parliament. He was buried inside the prison.

Guru’s execution provoked angry demonstrations in the Himalayan region, where most people believe he had not gotten a fair trial. Three people died during the demonstrations, including a teenager who was shot by Indian security forces.

Ahead of the execution, authorities declared a curfew in most of the Kashmir region and ordered people to remain indoors indefinitely in anticipation of anti-India protests.

On Saturday, the curfew was lifted and a general strike against the hanging paralyzed the region. All shops and business establishments, banks and schools were closed due to the strike. And public transport stayed off roads.

“The curfew has been lifted from all the areas and whatever restrictions you may see now are because of the (separatist) shutdown,” said Shiv Murari Sahai, a senior police officer in the city of Srinagar.

Protesters and security forces clashed in several places in the region.

On December 13, 2001, five gunmen stormed the parliament complex in New Delhi. However, all were shot dead before entering the legislative chamber. Ten other people, mostly security guards, were also killed.

In 2002, an Indian court found Guru guilty of arranging to obtain weapons for the attackers. He denied all the charges against him.

Kashmir lies at the heart of more than 65 years of hostility between India and Pakistan. Both countries claim the region in full but each only has control over a section of the territory.

Over the past two decades, the conflict in Kashmir has left over 47,000 people dead by the official count, although other sources say the death toll could be as high as 90,000.

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