In the martyrs graveyard of Srinagar, another empty grave has been made for the remains of Mohammad Afzal Guru, who was hanged at 8 am, on February 9, 2012, in Tihar jail (Delhi) by the Indian government, after he was convicted by the Supreme Court for attacking the country’s parliament in 2001.
Guru was buried in the jail compound and his family was neither informed about his hanging nor were shown the body. A letter informing the family about the hanging was delivered by Speed Post which was received by them two days after the hanging. The first empty grave in the same graveyard at Eidgah is of Maqbool Butt, founder of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front and a leading figure of the Kashmir’s freedom struggle. Butt was hanged on February 11, 1984, on the charges of “murdering an Indian intelligence officer”.
Guru’s grave which lies next to the Butt’s grave has been made by the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (R) under the supervision of its Senior Vice Chairman, Tahir Ahmed Mir.
The decision to make a grave for Guru’s remains was taken by the party and today on the fourth day of his hanging, Mir along with a few other members went to the graveyard at 6.30 am and installed a marble stone on his grave.
The grave has a same verse which is on Butt’s grave. It calls Guru a “martyr of nation” and also has the date of his hanging with the verse in Urdu saying, “One whose remains are lying with India, the nation waits for the return of his remains.”
“One fine morning India has to leave Kashmir. So we hope that the remains of Shaheed Maqbool Butt and Shaheed Afzal Guru will be returned. This hanging will remain in the brains of young generation and they will take struggle to its logical end. We had a pause in the freedom struggle due to Indian suppression but now India has refreshed the struggle of Kashmiris by hanging Afzal Guru,” Mir told The Kashmir Walla.
Guru’s family has been demanding the return of his remains to enable them to give him a proper burial. “We have no other demand…the only thing we want is that Afzal’s body be returned to us. Soon after we came to know about the hanging, we wrote letters to Deputy Commissioner Baramulla and Tihar Jail authorities for return of the body,” Mohammad Yasin, a cousin of Afzal, told PTI over phone from Sopore. Adding further, he had said, “Where will we offer ‘fatiha’? We want to bury him here (in Sopore).”
Photographs by Shahid Tantray