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Should government hand over Afzal Guru's body to his family?
The hanging of Afzal Guru on February 9 in haste and secrecy has raised serious questions on moral, legal and political system of India. It has led to a heated debate in the country with people on one hand celebrating the hanging feeling it was a fitting reply to terrorism, and on the other hand people maintain that justice has been denied to Guru.

The separatists and opposition parties in Kashmir are hitting out at J&K government for not doing enough to bring back his body to his home town. The separatists have even reserved a grave for Afzal Guru at the Mazar-e-Shuhda (martyrs’ graveyard) at Eidgah in downtown Srinagar beside grave reserved for Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Maqbool Bhat, who was executed and also buried in Tihar Jail in 1984.

Human rights groups and separatists have called three-day bandh in the Valley and are urging the government to return Guru’s body to his family. The Press Trust of India quoting a government official said that it is unlikely to return Guru’s body to Kashmir.

“I feel that Indians smell so many things at one time. In our country all issues are politicised. In this case, some people considered it as humanitarian and others as political. I think government is correct; if the body is returned it may cause unprecedented flare up,” said Trinkia Goyal, a student of Political Science at University of Rajasthan, Jaipur.

Even some migrant Kashmiri Pandits who are returning to the Valley after decades have called for the body to be returned. The Pandits fled the valley after the separatist insurgency flared up in Jammu and Kashmir in 1989. “Returning his body may calm the emotional sentiments of few thousand people, but those that demand the return of his remains must realize that he had waged war against the country and its people, Goyal added.

“Was this human act? If people are thinking it is human right then why do they forget his inhuman act? How country will stop these kinds of terrorist attacks? Why do they think only about Afzal Guru and his family? Where are sentiments of jawan’s families who were killed in this attack? In-fact he gave his rights when he supported terrorism. I think Indian authorities should learn from the US. His body should have been disposed the same way US did with Osama Bin Laden’s body. At least, it would have avoided unwanted controversies,” she said.  

“This issue is political for politicians who want to gain their vote bank. However, they are playing with emotions of people in the name that Afzal Guru deserves no humanity. I strongly feel his immediate family is free to visit his grave whenever they want to. Politicians and separatists in Kashmir should stop using Afzal Guru for their narrow secessionist causes,” said Jasmin Khan, High Court lawyer in Patna.

The Centre may be considered spineless, but it is clear that government will not hand over Guru’s body to his family and risk violence in the Valley.

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