Demonstration against Afzal Guru's hanging in Jammu

With all the educational institutions, shops and other business establishments open, it has been business as usual in most parts of Jammu region including the Muslim dominated Rajouri, Poonch and Ramban districts despite the hanging of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru at Tihar Jail in Delhi this morning.

In Doda and Kishtwar districts, some Muslim youth, however, held demonstration against the hanging of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru at two-three places. Later, they offered namaj-e-janaza (last prayers) and dispersed peacefully, official sources said.

Pointing out that the processions were held at Bhaderwah, Thathri and Kishtwar town, besides Banihal, senior officials said that processionists numbered only 100 200 people at each place and they too dispersed peacefully finding no support from other people of their community after sometime.

However, both Muslims and Hindus had kept their shutters down at Bhaderwah, Thathri, Kishtwar and Banihal towns, senior officials said. Pointing out that call for bandh was given by local Hurriyat leaders, they said that the latter appear to have closed their establishments in view of the apprehensions of trouble from anti-social elements.

However, government establishments and banks functioned as usual in Doda, Kishtwar and Ramban districts which fall in Chenab Valley. Except for Banihal town where shops were closed and a group of Muslim youth took out a procession and offered namaz-e-jinaza of Afzal Guru, it was life as usual in rest of the district, said Ramban Deputy Commissioner Shabir Ahmed Khan.

All the shops and other business establishments, besides schools and colleges were open and traffic plying on the roads as usual in the district, he said. However, the district administration was maintaining alert and policemen were deployed in strength at various places, he added.

In rest of the region especially Muslim dominated districts of Rajouri and Poonch, Afzal Guru's hanging evoked no response with both Muslims and Hindus busy in their daily chores as usual. All the schools and colleges there were open and traffic playing normally on the roads.

Even in Jammu city, the winter capital of the state, shops and other business establishments in Muslim dominated areas like Talab Khatikan and Gujjar Nagar were open. There seemed no tension there with educational institutions open and vehicular traffic plying there as usual.

Senior civil and police officers, who were monitoring the situation across Jammu region, said that they decided against imposing any restrictions in their areas as there had been no tension. A few people who decided to protest peacefully were allowed as any use of force against them would have been counter productive. As a result, these people could not find adequate response even from members of their own community and dispersed peacefully after sometime, they pointed out.

As such, there have been no prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPC, or curfew restrictions in any part of Jammu region so far. While the authorities were still maintaining alert, many a Muslims feel that Afzal Guru's hanging was a non-issue as he had been hanged following his conviction after a 12 year long judicial trial in Paliament attack case. Moreover, he was charged with attack on Parliament which even Muslims take an august house of democracy, said a Muslim leader who wished not to be named.

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