Islamabad: JKLF chief Yasin Malik today began a 24-hour hunger strike here to pressure Indian authorities to hand over the body of Afzal Guru, hanged and buried in a Delhi jail for his role in the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament, to his family.
Malik, here on a private visit to meet his wife and daughter, was joined by a small group of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front and JuD activists for the hunger strike at a ground outside the National Press Club in the heart of Islamabad.
Senior JKLF leader Amanullah Khan too participated in the protest.
“This is a completely peaceful 24-hour protest to demand that Afzal Guru’s body should be handed over to his family. The family was not even informed about the hanging,” Malik told PTI.
After Guru was hanged and buried at Delhi’s Tihar Jail this morning, his family is believed to have requested authorities to allow it to perform his last rites in accordance with Islamic customs.
“Guru became a victim of politics that is being done with an eye on the upcoming elections,” Malik said.
The JKLF chief said actions like the hanging of Guru would create frustration and anger among youths in Jammu and Kashmir who had adopted non-violent forms of protest.
Malik said he did not back capital punishment for anyone. At a news conference shortly before the hunger strike, Pakistani journalists asked Malik if Islamabad should hang Indian death row prisoner Sarabjit Singh following the execution of Guru.
“We are completely against capital punishment. We would never call for the hanging of Sarabjit Singh or anyone else,” he said.
Sarabjit has been on death row in a jail in Lahore for over two decades after being convicted for alleged involvement in a string of bomb attacks in Pakistani cities in 1990.
Malik called for a four-day shutdown in Jammu and Kashmir to protest the hanging of Guru.
Several Jamaat-ud-Dawah activists, who had gathered at the National Press Club for a separate protest against the execution of Guru, joined the JKLF’s hunger strike that will continue till 5 pm tomorrow.