February 9, 2013, as the news of Muhammad Afzal Guru’s hanging broke out in Kashmir, it was a state of confusion and outrage which followed. Curfew, shutdown, Protests, Media gag, blockage of all types of information and what not? Kashmir Life’s Photo Editor Bilal Bhadur braving odds clicked what happened in a week long siege.
After the news of Afzal Guru’s hanging broke out, the police and paramilitary troops were put on high alert. Kashmir was seized. Forces were looking through the barrel of guns, to check if somebody violates the directions.
The news spread like fire and many preferred to remain inside. Others were forced to do so. The otherwise busy Jahangir chowk where traffic stucks for many hours, presents the deserted look.
For the curfew and to deal with the emerging law and order problem, police and paramilitary troops were deployed in heavy number, so to say they guarded every house and desisted every household to come out.
The long time tool to stop people, concertina wires were put at main junctions, guarded by government forces and at some places people who were in fear were stuck in the wire, only to get free after intervention.
When the news of Guru’s execution and burial in Tihar Jail spread, the first thing people did was they dug up a grave and raised an epitaph. This was going to be second empty grave after Maqbool Bhat’ s which was dug 29 years ago, when he was hanged in same Tihar jail and interred in the same place.
Not only grave was dug, at many places, prayers in absentia were held for Guru who lost his life to ‘satisfy the collective conscience of India.’
Compulsions forced people to come out, but desolated streets welcomed them. A woman carrying a child in her lap, moving down the streets of Srinagar.
The troops deployed on every street enforcing curfew rejected plea of few women trying to cross the road.
Away from crowd, an old women, sitting in front of Jamia Masjid, without caring about the situation and strict orders from government, seeks blessings from almighty.
To manage the situation, the government has to ask for reinforcement, and the additional troops were deployed at sensitive places.
Witness to important historical events, Ganta Ghar (Clock Tower) was again left deserted and birds were its only companions.
Srinagar, heavily infested with Dogs, could see them on streets, but the new thing which emerged was when people remained indoors, troops were seen beating dogs.
You can manage with anything, but any sort of medical aid when required forces people to come out. People stranded in hospitals, when outside the siege was on.
Though as they claim maximum restraint was put in place, but a young boy from Watergam besides other two in Ganderbal lost their lives. Body of Watergam’s Obaid,14, being carried for resting in graveyard.
“Gaza strip”, the protesters claim it to be, Nowhatta and area surrounding Jamia Masjid is the first to come under strict restrictions. Though it is normal for the place now.
To counter concertina wire laid by forces, protesting people used huge logs of wood to block roads. The scene is from the Baramulla Sopore road where many logs were laid on main roads.