Afzal Guru's hanging causes a furore in Delhi

Hours after Afzal Guru, the key conspirator in the 2003 attack on the Indian Parliament , was hanged inside Tihar Jail on Saturday, supporters of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal clashed with students of the Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University at Jantar Mantar in the national capital.

Trouble erupted soon after 25 members of the VHP and Bajrang Dal gathered at Jantar Mantar in central Delhi to celebrate the hanging by distributing sweets and bursting firecrackers.

VHP activists and Kashmiri students get into a scuffle outside Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Saturday

Within minutes, 20 Kashmiri students from the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) and Delhi University (DU) arrived at the venue, holding placards that read “I am Afzal, hang me too" and chanted “Azad Kashmir” (Independent Kashmir) slogans.

The Kashmiri students felt that Guru was not given a fair trial and accused the government of step-motherly treatment towards Kashmiris.

The group was accompanied by members of the CPI(M-L), Peoples Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) and National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) who were condemning the decision.

Tension escalated as the rival protests took on a communal hue and police struggled to keep them separated.

Adding to this, two separate protests — one demanding the widening of National Highway No 24 and 58 by Ghaziabad Residents Welfare Association and another demanding a separate Gorkhaland from West Bengal joined the fray and raised slogans against the Kashmiri students.

In the ensuing fisticuffs, a PUDR member had his face blackened by Bajrang Dal activists. The situation was brought under control by policemen in riot gear who bundled the students into waiting buses and drove them away.

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