The Kashmir Walla

My father is a martyr, not a terrorist: Ghalib Guru

Sopore: Over a week after his father’s hanging, young boy steps into the room and looks around, probing everyone. This was his father’s room. Calm and composed, then thirteen-year-old Ghalib Guru, the only son of Mohammad Afzal Guru, said, “He is proud of his father for sacrificing his life for Kashmir like Bhagat Singh did for India.”

Ghalib was in class 8. He used to meet his father once a year for twelve years since he was one year old, when his father was arrested in 2001. During the jail meetings his father would tell him to become ‘aaelim’ (scholar).

“My father used to tell me to become scholar but I would tell him that I want to study Science,” said Ghalib, who recently qualified class 12 with distinction and aim to become a doctor.

Ghalib said that he didn’t know why his father was in jail. “I know that India had sentenced him to death. On Feb. 9, 2013, morning, I was at Khanpora (Varmul), my maternal home. I was given breakfast and then we left for home (Sopore). I was surprised to find that the curfew had been imposed,” said Ghalib.

Afzal Guru’s Family

Ghalib added that on reaching home he found everyone crying and he understood what had happened. “We had got to know about the hanging from television news channels. I was shocked and my brain stopped working,” said Ghalib, sitting on his knees.
Ghalib said that he was angry of Indian government. “They should have told us a week before. My father is a Shaheed (martyr) and not a Ugarwadi (terrorist),” said Ghalib.

Now after Guru has been hanged and buried in the Tihar jail, Delhi in the early hours of 9 February 2013, Ghalib continued to follow his passion and study Science to become a Cardiologist.

Guru’s mortal remains were never returned to the family.

The story was first published on 19 February 2013.