Show Afzal the power of mercy
The Opposition still hasn’t recovered from their authoritarian hangover
ANALYSIS BY TANVIR SADIQ
The more our leaders speak through the media more will it help the people to convince themselves what our leaders are doing to save Afzal. Right now everyone is concerned or rather looks like concerned about Afzal Guru. Well it seems that whoever talks in favour or against Afzal finds his name in tomorrow’s news headlines. The death sentence of Afzal Guru and think whether we really are doing something to save someone who in general perception is innocent. The issue even then would not be whether Afzal Guru is completely ‘innocent’ or ‘guilty’; the issue is what the Indian government will achieve out of this, especially now that it has become a public issue, and the demand for clemency is coming from various parts of the world. It has been now almost 9 years and the matter of hanging Afzal Guru is still pending as political parties have been cashing on the issue. When the attack took place, India was run by NDA, with Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) as its main member. Then the opposition the largest party of India Congress left no stone unturned to attack on BJP. As soon as Congress came back into the power, BJP was granted with the same weapon. Now the attacks came from BJP demanding to hang Afzal Guru at the earliest.
No right thinking person will ever approve of the attack India faced on her parliament. The incident left the country shocked. Parliament was in session and unfortunately eight innocent people & 5 militants were killed. The name Afzal Guru came to prominence and was accused for those attacks and a year later convicted and sentenced to death. Those in favour of the Government of India taking the initiative in commuting the death sentence to one of life imprisonment argue that his execution could add to the anger in Kashmir and could create difficulties at a time when the Security Forces claim bringing the militants activities under control.
The Indian judicial system might be better than in many countries, but no judicial system is perfect; and no judges or prosecution is infallible. There is always a chance that injustice can creep in. A miscarriage of justice can take place even in most advanced, liberal and democratic countries, and once a person is executed, then no remorse or judicial review can bring him back. I feel sorry for leaders who shout from the roof tops and demand clemency, as where were they when Afzal needed a lawyer. Engineer Rashid, the MLA from langate apparently looks like he follows the tweets of CM so religiously that once a topic is highlighted by the media he jumps on the bandwagon only to create an impression that he is the only righteous person around, I still fail to understand why didn’t he do what he did when the issue was in cold storage. Had it not been for Omar Abdullah who revived a hope that Justice will prevail. With a short tweet he made sure that Hon. President is aware of the gravity of the situation and is able to see this one incident in a broader perspective. The Assembly session and the outcome of the resolution will be historic. If Afzal is involved he should be punished, but you can’t with a stroke of a pen compare him with Ajmal Kasab who in my opinion should be hanged without trial. The BJP has absolutely no problem when Tamil Nadu government sought clemency for outsiders even when the guilty have confessed to the crime, the same BJP hasn’t spoken against the Shorminai Akali Dal when they sought clemency for Bhullar, but when it comes to an Indian who is a Kashmiri they call it Anti National and try to vitiate the atmosphere. The local legislators even claim that the assembly they represent cannot pass the resolution and should be dropped; apparently they still haven’t recovered from their authoritarian hangover. Just think, Afzal, was not directly involved in hatching this conspiracy. There was no evidence of his direct involvement and he was not responsible for anyone’s death or injury. He had no link with any militant group, and even the prosecution thinks he was merely a ‘facilitator’. Critics believe that the investigation had irregularities and he never had a legal support that could advise him on this very serious charge and represent him. Mr. Guru had said in a letter to his lawyer that was later posted on the website Justice for Afzal Guru that he had been made a “scapegoat” by the police because of their inability to find the “mastermind” behind the attack on the Parliament. He has also said that his confessions to the police were made under duress and that he was deprived of proper legal representation earlier in the trial. So why is he being treated as he is.
I remember reading somewhere when Afzal was asked about the parliament attack, he replied by saying that he shared the pain of the family members who lost their dear ones in the attack but was sad that the families of the victims were mislead to believe that hanging an innocent person like him would satisfy them. They are used as pawns in a completely distorted cause of nationalism. I appeal them to come out of it and see through things. I don’t know whether he is right or not but if an over whelming majority argue that he is innocent and that a death sentence should be changed to one of life imprisonment, then the President should consider the popular demand for clemency.
At a time when a peace process is having a bumpy ride and confidence and trust is not at its highest, is it prudent for a government of India to hang Afzal Guru? This is the time when government of India should be considering ways and means of mending fences not only with the people of Jammu and Kashmir but with Pakistan as well. Hanging Afzal Guru will not help the peace process; and it will surely not help win hearts and minds of the Kashmiri people. Personally, I feel Afzal is not a hero for many but if you hang him, you make him one.
( Tanvir Sadiq can be found at www.kashmirleader.blogspot.com. or followed @tanvirsadiq )
Lastupdate on : Tue, 27 Sep 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 27 Sep 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 28 Sep 2011 00:00:00 IST
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