SRINAGAR: The pro-freedom camp on Tuesday called for complete shutdown on the death anniversaries of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat, even as the leaders reiterated the demand for the return of their mortal remains.
Guru was hanged by New Delhi in its Tihar jail on February 9, 2013, while Bhat, a founding leader of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front, was hanged in the same jail in 1984.
They lay buried in the jail premises, while Kashmir has been demanding return of their mortal remains.
Both factions of Hurriyat Conference and Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front said a complete state-wide shutdown should be held on the days.
“Shaheed Mohammad Maqbool Bhat and Shaheed Mohammad Afzal Guru are our heroes and we are proud of them. In the last 69 years, thousands of our valiant and bold people sacrificed their precious lives, but Shaheed Maqbool Bhat and Shaheed Afzal Guru are unique cases. Both were detained, executed, and buried in the same jail and in same month,” Geelani said in a statement issued here.
“If Shaheed Maqbool Bhat can be termed as the movement’s first solider, Shaheed Afzal Guru’s last letter is a new milestone of the freedom struggle which set a new trend. His letter clearly depicts that he was an ideological person whose emotions were filled with faith, intellect and conscience,” he added.
Demanding the return of their mortal remains, Geelani said: “Though it is purely a human issue, India is reluctant to the demand, thereby violating all the principles of morality and constitution. As such, its claim of being the world’s largest democracy is badly exposed.”
Geelani said the best way to pay tributes to Bhat and Guru was to remember these “brave sons of the soil who sacrificed themselves for the future of the nation”.
The JKLF chairman, Muhammad Yasin Malik, appealed people to protest against “these judicial killings, oppression and occupation”.
“A peaceful protest march will be held at Lal Chowk on February 10, to demand the return of mortal remains of Shaheed Maqbool Bhat and Shaheed Afzal Guru,” Malik said in a statement issued here, while calling for the shutdown.
He said JKLF will organise a programme at Maqbool’s native village Trehgam, Kupwara, on February 11.
“Programmes will also be held across the globe in this connection,” he said.
“Sit-in demos will be held across the world’s major cities including in Pakistan’s Islamabad, Lahore, and Karachi. Protest programmes will also be organised in USA, UK, Canada, Germany, Europe, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and other parts of the Middle East,” Malik said.
He said JKLF’s London chapter would also hold a protest rally on the day. In Pakistan-administered Kashmir, protests and demonstrations would be held at Muzzafarbad, Kotli, Mirpur, Rawalakot, Bagh, and Gilgit, he said.
“The martyrdom of Baba-e-Qaum, Shaheed Mohammad Maqbool Bhat, is a glorious chapter of our history that will always guide us through the tough journey of freedom struggle. Starting as a loner, he kissed gallows and his struggle and sacrifices motivated the nation of Kashmir, bringing out a historical revolution for freedom in 1990,” Malik said.
“Afzal also kissed gallows like Maqbool and became immortal. Both were hanged by India and their mortal remains continue to be caged. The way these martyrs were denied a proper burial shows the glaring example of Indian oppression and tyrannical attitude.”
Hurriyat Conference (M) said the people needed to remain steadfast to the movement to “safeguard their sacrifices”.
“It is due to these sacrifices that international community is using its influence to persuade India and Pakistan leadership to resolve the Kashmir issue as per the wishes and aspirations of its people,” a spokesman of the conglomerate said in a statement issued here.
Demanding the return of their mortal remains, the spokesman said the government of India was committing a “grave human rights violation” by denying them a proper burial.
“The democracy loving people, civilised nations and rights bodies of the world must play their role in getting back the mortal remains of Maqbool Bhat and Afzal Guru,” he said.