Fearing further protest, the government has detained more than 100 political activists, including all those identified as separatist leaders. Three persons died during protests over the hanging, including a teenage boy killed when Indian security forces fired at protesters near Guru’s village.
“The Indian state in Kashmir has dropped its mask. I am waiting for a call for a protest march and I am going to go out and join it,” said Siddiq Wahid, a historian and former vice-chancellor of the Islamic University of Science and Technology here. “I fear this can take the situation back to collective confrontation.”
Amid severe restrictions on the media – newspapers could not publish for four days – mobile Internet services were withdrawn without notice and cable TV pulled off indefinitely, prompting many Kashmiri people to feel pushed to the wall without avenues to express themselves. A Kashmiri lawmaker in the region was also detained after he tried to lead a protest demonstration against the hanging.
“No Kashmiri leader is able to do anything. I am helpless and personally want to quit this dirty [pro-India] politics,” the lawmaker, Abdul Rasheed, said over the phone from a police barracks where he is being kept under detention. “I will go to my supporters and explain myself as soon as I am released.”
The anger and hurt is so deep that many who had started veering toward a politics of reconciliation have begun to change course.