Bajrang Dal targets protest in Delhi


Hours after Afzal Guru, convicted of the attack on Parliament in 2001, was hanged in Tihar jail early Saturday, protests broke out in the city.

Scores of students from universities across Delhi, along with civil rights activists of People's Union for Democratic Rights, gathered at Jantar Mantar to protest.

But the situation turned volatile after right-wing activists also turned up there.

Carrying placards and shouting anti-government slogans, over 200 people came out to protest against Afzal's hanging, with women in the forefront.

Cries of Hum Kya Chahatey— azaadi (we want freedom), Inquilab Zindabad (long live revolution) and Afzal tere khoon se inquilab aayega (Afzal, your death will usher in a revolution) were heard throughout.

The protesters had a fair number of non-Kashmiri supporters — from the civil society. Seventy-four-year-old Raj Kishore, from Revolutionary Democratic Front, said, "Afzal Guru was hanged wrongly. Without any evidence against him, he was hanged just to satisfy the national conscience. It was done for the vote bank. I oppose his hanging."

Many others claimed Afzal had not been given a fair trial. Several youths broke down as news of Afzal's hanging sank in.

A company of police personnel, including women constables, was deployed to keep an eye on protesters.

"Police detained 22 people. Eight of them are women. None of those detained belong to the Bajrang Dal," a senior police officer said.

During the course of the protest, women were seen being roughed up by police personnel. Several complaints were lodged.

The protests were disrupted by right-wing activists from Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal who shouted slogans of Afzal murdabad (Death to Afzal) and hurled abuses and obscenities at the Kashmiri protesters.

Unidentified young men also disrupted the protest and smeared soot and black paint on civil rights activist Gautam Navlakha's face.

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