Who is Afzal Guru? Family was not informed about execution

Sopore, Kashmir: The family of Afzal Guru has countered the government’s claim that they were informed about the plan to execute him beforehand, and say they learnt about the hanging at Delhi’s Tihar Jail yesterday from the media.

“We were not informed by the government. We came to know about the execution from TV channels and the social media. Our lawyers and friends in Delhi too did not have any knowledge about this,” Afzal Guru’s cousin, Yaseen Ahmed, at his home in Sopore, about 35 km from Srinagar.

New Delhi, Feb 9: Mohammed Afzal Guru could well have become a qualified medical practitioner but midway through the MBBS course he dropped out and joined the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF). Though he deviated from the path of armed struggle sometime later and tried to live a normal life, he could not escape the end that fate had in store for him. At 8 a.m today, the 42-year-old was hanged in the Tihar Jail here for abetting the Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists who attacked the Parliament on Dec 13, 2001.

Afzal was born in Aabgah village near Sopore town in Baramulla district of Jammu and Kashmir. The Jhelum river flows near his birthplace. Young Afzal used to enthusiastically participate in all the activities at the local school. The teachers were so impressed by his dedication and smartness that they chose him to lead the Independence Day parade.

In 1986, he passed the Matriculation exam. Since his father’s greatest wish was to see him as a doctor, Afzal completed his higher secondary education in Sopore and subsequently enrolled in medical college.

Around 1990, a large number of young men in the Kashmir valley started taking up arms. Afzal was one of them. Like many of his associates, Afzal crossed the Line of Control and proceeded to Muzaffarabad. After learning how to handle arms and ammunition, he returned to Sopore and led a group of nearly 300 militants.

Gradually realisation dawned on him that insurgency can not succeed in Jammu and Kashmir. He sought help from his cousin Shaukat Hussain to move to the national capital. The latter ensured his admission into a college here. Afzal obtained his BCom from Delhi University and then briefly worked with the Bank of America.

On a visit to Kashmir in 1998, he married a Baramulla native Tabassum. She bore him a son Ghalib. To meet his increased responsibilities, Afzal took up a job with a pharmaceuticals firm and served as its area manager. Simultaneously, he ran a commission agency. During this period, he used to shuttle between Srinagar and Delhi. It was his business that led to a meeting with one Tariq. This resident of Anantnag convinced Afzal to aid some Pakistan-trained terrorists in their deadly mission.

Accordingly, he arranged a hideout for them. After the attack on Parliament, investigators seized explosives from the hideout. The terrorists had given him Rs 10 Lakh. Police found the amount in Afzal’s possession. In 2002, the trial court awarded him capital punishment for conspiring with the terrorists. The verdict was upheld by both the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court. This morning, the death sentence was finally carried out.

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