India executes Kashmiri militant for 2001 parliament attack

February 9, 2013 08:18

NEW DELHI - India hanged a Kashmiri militant on Saturday for an attack on the country's parliament in 2001, and security forces, anticipating protests in response to the execution, imposed a curfew in parts of Kashmir and ordered people off the streets.

President Pranab Mukherjee rejected a mercy petition from Mohammad Afzal Guru and he was hanged at 8 a.m. (0230 GMT) in Tihar jail in the capital, New Delhi, officials said.

India blamed the 2001 attack on the parliament of the world's largest democracy on militants backed by Pakistan.

Pakistan denied any involvement and condemned the attack but tension rose sharply and brought the nuclear-armed rivals dangerously close to their fourth war.

Nearly a million soldiers were mobilized on both sides of the border and fears of war only dissipated months later, in June 2002.

"This is only about the law taking its course," Home Secretary R.K. Singh told reporters after the execution.

Barricades were erected and hundreds of police and paramilitary forces were deployed in major towns of Indian Kashmir, which has battled a separatist insurgency for decades.

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