India hangs Kashmiri man for parliament attack
Final mercy plea was rejected for Mohammed Afzal Guru
Scores of protesters rallied in Pakistan-administered Kashmir on Saturday after an Indian-Kashmiri man was hanged for his role in a 2001 attack on India's parliament that left 14 people dead.
Mohammed Afzal Guru was executed in New Delhi early on Saturday morning after a final mercy plea was rejected.
Angry protesters later gathered in Muzzafarabad, the capital of Pakistan-administered Kashmir, and chanted slogans like "We want freedom" and "Down with India".
They also burned an Indian flag and an effigy of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Mohammad Afzal Mir, who came from the same village as Guru, struck a defiant note.
"We would become martyrs like Maqbool Butt and Afzal Guru, but we would not bow our head before India," he said. "We condemn Pakistani-Indian dialogue. We condemn all their agreements and trade. We would not allow anyone to trade on our blood. The freedom of Kashmir is superior."
Guru had been on death row since first being convicted in 2002.
Subsequent appeals in higher courts were also rejected, and India's Supreme Court set an execution date for October 2006. But his execution was delayed after his wife filed a mercy petition with India's president.
That petition, the last step in the judicial process, was turned down earlier this week.
On Dec. 13, 2001, five gunmen entered the compound of India's parliament and opened fire. A gun battle with security officers ensued and 14 people, including the gunmen, were killed.
The attack led to heightened tensions between India and its neighbour and archrival Pakistan, and brought the neighbours to the brink of war.
But tensions eased after intense diplomatic pressure from the international community and a promise by then-Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf to clamp down on the militants.
Guru confessed in TV interviews that he helped plot the attack, but later denied any involvement and said he was tortured into confessing.
Several rights groups across India and political groups in Indian Kashmir, have said that Guru did not get a fair trial.
Anti-India sentiment runs deep in Muslim-majority Kashmir, which is divided between Hindu-dominated India and Muslim-majority Pakistan but is claimed by both nations.
Since 1989, an armed uprising in Indian-controlled Kashmir and an ensuing crackdown have killed an estimated 68,000 people, mostly civilians.