Trehgam, North Kashmir
The mother of pro-independence leader, Mohammad Maqbool Butt, who was hanged and buried in Delhi’s Tihar jail, believes that the hanging of Afzal Guru will have an impact on the young generation of Kashmir. In her single storey house at Trehgam village of Northern Kashmir, she said that the sacrifices don’t go waste.
“Both Maqbool sahib and Guru sahib were innocent and on right path. India thinks that this freedom movement will stop by doing this but this won’t stop. It will continue. There are so many Maqbools in Kashmir. There are more,” Butt’s mother, Shahmali Begum told The Kashmir Walla.
On February 11, 1984, Butt, founder of Jammu Kashmir Liberation front (JKLF) – first militant group of Kashmir, was hanged after “convicting him for murdering an Indian intelligence officer”. He was buried in the jail compound. After twenty nine years, on February 9, 2013, India hanged Mohammad Afzal Guru- convicting him for his role in the attack on the Indian parliament in December 2001. Guru was also buried in the same jail.
Both the families were not informed about the hanging or allowed any meeting before the hanging. While Guru’s family was informed through a letter (sent via speed post) by the government of India which reached days after the hanging, Butt’s mother says that they too were not informed about her son’s hanging.
“When Maqbool sahib was hanged we were not informed. Both my other sons, Manzoor and Ghulam Nabi were arrested before hanging. We got to know about his hanging after they buried him. We couldn’t even meet him before the hanging,” Begum said.
She says that India has repeated same again. “I was at home when I heard that Afzal Guru had been hanged. It was same day for me as it was the day of Maqbool’s hanging. We didn’t eat anything that day. All those scenes of Maqbool’s hanging day came in front of my eyes,” Begum adds.
After Guru’s hanging his family has been demanding the return of his body from the jail and that shall be buried in Kashmir. So far, the government has rejected return of the body. “India neither gave Maqbool’s body nor Guru’s. I have appealed so many times for the return of my son’s body. India should return the body of both Maqbool and Afzal sahib. We should be given bodies of our sons so that our hearts shall satisfy,” she said.
Photograph by Muhabit ul Haq