How does one kill the ghost of Afzal Guru?

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When the UPA government took a decision to hang Afzal Guru in secrecy, there were questions asked about the manner in which it was done. The family had not been informed is what many had alleged following which a statement was issued that the government had sent the wife a telegram which may have reached late.

Prior to the hanging, the government sought a detailed Intelligence report on what the ground situation in Kashmir would be if the hanging were to take place. The intelligence report which was submitted to the government at that time was that there would be no large scale uprising in Kashmir if the hanging were to take place.

How does one kill the ghost of Afzal?

Kashmir had been relatively quiet over the hanging of Afzal Guru which strengthened the credibility of the IB report which said that no uprising was feared. It has been three years now and the Afzal Guru has become a major talking point which raises a very valid point, " have we played into the hands of the separatists.

Afzal Guru is dead, but his ghost wanders

Every year since the hanging of Afzal Guru, there have been protests in Kashmir. However these protests were observed on the day of his death anniversary and would fizzle out immediately. Why has it turned so big this year?

An intelligence bureau report would state that this year there was an intentional move on part of some Kashmiri separatists to make this issue a big one. The writing was on the wall when a hint was sent out by the Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorists who attacked the Pathankot air force station. Pamphlets condemning the death of Afzal Guru and seeking an uprising were found on the terrorists.

Getting back to the protest that took place at the JNU and also looking at the investigation details, it seems that a protest was planned well in advance. During the protest, while condemning the hanging of Afzal Guru, anti India slogans too would shouted, it has been alleged.

The question is would this issue have snow balled into such a major issue had it been ignored? Had these persons protested and none bothered to give a second look, would it not have fizzled out in a day's time?

Today the name of Afzal Guru has become the talking point and this is also being used by many to make an icon of him in Kashmir.

Fodder for many

When Maqbool Bhat, the founder of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Movement, was hanged in 1984, there were protests. However for at least five years there was no uprising. It was in 1989 that a major uprising took place in Kashmir using the name of Bhat.

If one looks at the Afzal Guru issue, it seems to be taking a similar path. Kashmir cannot be on the boil once again and it with great difficulty that certain amount of peace has been brought about.

Several officials say that the best way of dealing with Afzal Guru is to ignore him. If there are protests, let it take place as it will die down in a day's time. Take action if the protests turn violent or there is a deliberate attempt to incite violence, officials also point out.

It is only if there is a reaction that the protests get noticed. This leads to extensive coverage in the media and the issue becomes a talking point for long. It is only in this way can we ensure that the ghost of Afzal Guru does not linger on despite him being hanged three years back.

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