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Strike shuts Kashmir to remember man executed by India

Shops and businesses have shut in Indian-administered Kashmir and authorities imposed a lockdown in some parts of the disputed region’s main city after separatists called for a strike to mark the anniversary of the execution of a Kashmiri man who was convicted for an attack on the Indian Parliament.

Hundreds of police and paramilitary soldiers patrolled largely deserted streets in Srinagar on Sunday.

Authorities put older neighbourhoods of the city under lockdown, with major roads blocked by razor wire and barricades in anticipation of anti-India protests and possible violence. Public transport was largely off the roads.

Many Kashmiris, who have long demanded the region be given independence or allowed to merge with neighbouring Pakistan, were incensed when in 2013, Mohammed Afzal Guru was secretly hanged in a New Delhi jail on charges of being involved in a 2001 Parliament attack, which killed 14 people, including five gunmen.

Many in Indian-administered Kashmir believe Guru did not receive a fair trial, and the covert execution led to days of deadly anti-India protests in the Muslim-majority region, where anti-India sentiment runs deep.

Separatists have also called for a strike on February 11 to mark the day in 1984 when pro-independence leader Mohammed Maqbool Butt was hanged in the same New Delhi jail after being convicted of killing an intelligence officer.

Separatists demand that the two men’s remains, buried within the jail compound, be returned to the region._Agencies.

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