Kashmir shuts down on Afzal Guru's 5th death anniversary
Security agencies across J&K are on high alert due to the fifth death anniversary of the Parliament attack convict, Afzal Guru today. The authorities fear a strike by Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM). Notably, the group had returned to the valley in 2014, with Afzal Guru as the central theme of the campaign. Reportedly, JeM might strike the North, particularly Sopore and Handwara region. Here's more.
Afzal Guru was a medical student whose life changed after he joined Kashmir's liberation movement. He crossed LoC and became a member of Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front, where he received terrorist training. Then, as a JeM member, he was a conspirator in 2001's Parliament attack, providing hideout and logistic-support. Following his confession, he was arrested in 2001 and given a death sentence in 2002.
JeM is a Pakistan-based extremist Islamic group working to undermine India's control in Kashmir. It was set up in 2000 by Masood Azhar, after he was released in exchange for passengers/crew of the hijacked Indian Airlines (IC-814) flight. Later, JeM returned with the "Afzal Guru Squad." They attacked Kupwara army-camp in 2015, Pathankot airbase in 2016 and simultaneously, the Indian mission in Afghanistan's Mazar-e-Sharif.
J&K police claimed that, "Though Hizbul Mujahideen and Lashkar are still bigger in numbers, Jaish has come to the forefront." The authorities have imposed restrictions to prevent separatist-called protests. Police and paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) contingents have been deployed. Train services between North Kashmir's Baramulla and Jammu's Bannihal have also been suspended. Further, they have also arrested JKLF's chairman Mohammad, Yasin Malik.
Meanwhile, Kashmir will also be on high alert on February 11, when JKLF's co-founder Maqbool Bhat was hanged in Tihar Jail in 1984. He was a crusader of complete independence for Kashmir and had also advocated an armed struggle for this purpose.