Kashmir on strike to protest separatist's hanging 2 years ago; at least 100 detained

Associated Press

Hundreds of police and paramilitary soldiers patrolled the disputed region of Kashmir on Monday during a strike called by anti-India separatists to protest the secret execution two years ago of a former Kashmiri rebel.

Streets in the main city of Srinagar were nearly deserted as shops and offices closed to mark the anniversary of the execution.

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Authorities imposed a curfew in parts of Srinagar and detained at least 100 anti-India activists to prevent violent protests.

Kashmiris were incensed when Mohammed Afzal Guru was hanged in secret on Feb. 9, 2013, in a New Delhi jail. Many in the mostly Muslim region of Kashmir believe Guru was not given a fair trial on charges of involvement in a 2001 attack on Parliament that killed 14 people, including five gunmen.

Guru had fought earlier with rebels in an armed uprising that started in 1989 in the Himalayan region. An estimated 68,000 people were killed in the uprising and ensuing Indian crackdown.

Anti-India separatists have long demanded either independence or a merger with neighboring Pakistan. India and Pakistan each administer a portion of Kashmir. Both claim the region in its entirety.

Separatists have called for another strike on Wednesday to mark the 1984 hanging of pro-independence leader Mohammed Maqbool Butt, who was executed for killing an intelligence officer.

The separatists have demanded that both Guru's and Butt's remains be returned to the region for burial. They are both buried at New Delhi's main jail.