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Protests over death sentence continue in Kashmir

Sep 28, 2006:

Mian qayoom
Protests over the death sentence to 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, continued in Indian administered Kashmir for second day today. A Delhi court on Tuesday fixed October 20 for the execution of Afzal Guru.

Protesters chanted slogans in favour of Afzal Guru in the summer capital Srinagar. Lawyers from the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association took out a demonstration against the death sentence. Protests were also reported from Sopore and Kulgam towns.

The protestors chanted slogans ‘We want Justice’ “Indian Justice hai hai (down with Indian justice)’ and ‘Don’t hang Afzal Guru’.

“The court has itself said the death sentence has been given to satisfy the collective conscience of the Indian nation,” Mian Qayoom President of the Kashmir High Court Bar Association, who was heading the protests said.

Qayoom said the sentence has been timed around Hindu Festival Diwali as a ‘gift to the people of India’.

The fixed date of execution timing also coincides with Jamat-ul-Vida, a sacred day for Muslims.

Guru was awarded a death sentence by a lower court along with three co-accused for their alleged involvement in the attack on Indian parliament in 2001.

The Supreme Court of India later acquitted two of the co accused, Delhi University Lecturer S A R Geelani and Afshan Guru, wife of another convict Shaukat Guru. The Supreme Court also converted Shaukat Guru’s death sentence to 10 years rigorous imprisonment.

New Delhi based rights group People's Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) has also condemned the death sentence.

“PUDR has followed the Parliament attack case closely from the time it was committed to trial under POTA and had observed the denial of fair trial in this particular case,” a PUDR statement said.

PUDR added that it also condemned death penalty in principle.

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