Editorial: Is it Justice?? Think on it… The End of Afzal Guru

By: Iftikhar Islam

It was shocking to hear about a person who was awarded Death Penalty by the Supreme Court and the President, Pranab Mukherji, rejected his “mercy” petition. I was as normal as usual hearing the news of hanging the accused till death. I was wondering there is a hue-and-cry about the current situation. Neither I had researched about Ajmal Kasab nor had I done of Afzal Guru but when I read some of the articles, I started researching about his life and I was shocked. I was wondering how my beloved country India does all such activities. How come all these are happening in my Beloved Nation. I was literally shivering by reading the articles which describe the personality. It was 4:00 in the morning; I didn’t sleep the whole night. Thinking.. thinking.. and thinking.. How to change the situation of my Nation. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Jodhpur to Manipur; I dream of my India, a peaceful country. A perfect example of “Unity in diversity”. Will my dream ever come true? 

I was reluctant to write on this topic for many reasons, my schedule and circumstances did not allow me. Yet in hope, to establish peace, I put forward my step in covering the issue and making my people aware about the injustice done to our fellow brothers, sisters and children – especially in Kashmir! 

On one hand we say Kashmir is a part of our beloved India and on the other hand we behave with Kashmiri’s like aliens. We don’t miss out any opportunity in torturing them, torturing to the third degree, shamelessly demanding bribe against the release and lastly kill them. 

Once upon a time we used to be proud of Kashmir being the ‘paradise of India’ situated on the head. But one the other hand we have not missed any opportunity to make it Hell. When will we realize the value of fellow humans? Don’t you think the human rights are violated there to the core? 

One of the victims of harassment of Kashmiris is Afzal Guru who was trapped beautifully, tortured to the third degree and finally rejected the “mercy” petition and sent to gallows. He was not given a fair trial and a chance to prove himself. “Throughout the trial I remained mute and helpless spectator as witnesses, police and even judge they all became a single force against me. I remained a frustrate bewildered and confused between the security and safety of myself and my family. I protected and saved my family. That is how I am lying in death row.” Afzal grumbled. 

Due to poverty, his family could not afford an advocate to defend him. Afzal said “The magnitude and the gravity of my unknowing , unwilling and inintentional involvement in the Parliament attack case was from the beginning emotionalized and magnified by Police through all possible means due to my helplessness, ignorance of law (legal process) and unability to manage the suitable legal aid. Thus the police made me a scapegoat so as to mask their unability and failure to trace out the mastermind of Parliament attack and to make people fool.” 

There are various statements from Afzal, his wife and people of Kashmir, which clearly indicate the innocence of Afzal. Even the statement of Hon’ble Judge which Afzal quotes “Even respected session judge S.N. Dhingra said in his court that Afzal is truthful.” “He was a pious soul and was extremely well behaved” said one of those who knew him personally in Jail. 

“None of the 80 prosecution witnesses ever even alleged that Afzal was in any way associated or belonged to any terrorist organization. Despite these facts the police and a section of the media still refer to Afzal as a “JeM activist”” writes Nandita Haksar, a prominent human rights lawyer and activist. She further writes “The death sentence on Afzal reminds the people of Kashmir of how the Indian State hanged Maqbul Bhatt in the 1980s. It was soon after that the Kashmiris took to armed resistance. Afzal’s death sentence has united all Kashmiris across ideological lines.” 

She also inscribes “The Supreme Court has not passed any strictures against the corrupt officers for their shoddy and illegal investigation and has held there is no direct evidence against Afzal. However, they have confirmed the death sentence because they believe that his death is necessary to assuage the feeling of Indian citizens.” The hon’ble Supreme Court in its judgement has stated that “The incident, which resulted in heavy casualties, has shaken the entire nation and the collective conscience of the society will be satisfied if the capital punishment is awarded to the offender. The challenge to the unity, integrity and sovereignty of India by these acts of terrorists and conspirators can only be compensated by giving the maximum punishment to the person who is proved to be a conspirator in this treacherous act. The appellant, who is a surrendered militant and who was bent upon repeating the acts of treason against the nation, is a menace to the society should become extinct. Accordingly we uphold the death sentence.” 

“We the people of Kashmir ask why the collective conscience of Indians is not shaken by the fact that a Kashmiri has been sentenced to death without a fair trial, without a chance to represent himself?” says the people of Kashmir in the Resolution Passed jointly by Kashmiri Leaders. 

How can we forget our rules and regulations, our norms, while giving judgment against the culprit? Can we ever imagine Supreme Court saying that “the collective conscience of the society will be satisfied if the capital punishment is awarded to the offender” Why don’t we look into the law to award punishments? He was not one of those who attacked the parliament. 

We have seen the protest in favor of Afzal Guru. Kashmiris are Protesting, neighbors are testifying his goodness, and even jail authorities respect him. How can we say “a collective conscience of the society will be satisfied”?? For the “collective conscience of the people”, can we put an innocent into gallows – without any fair trail? Human rights activists are sad, Kashmiries are in grieve, and also the wise people of the world. Do you think all of them protesting are supporting a “Terrorist”? Afzal himself condemned terrorist acts and said it is cowardness. 

What signals have we sent to the world? What will be the status of India in the sight of Billions of people? 

I know it is useless to cry when the person is no more, we can’t get him back, and we can’t eradicate the pain of a young woman, her child and an old lady who has lost their valuable member of the family. But we can do justice by punishing the real culprits and those who were involved in laying down the beautiful net to trap an innocent Indian citizen. We can do justice by punishing those who harassed him and forced him to walk on that path. 

His bashful wife had to speak about the torture faced by her husband. She narrated the story when the State Task Force (STF) arrested him “the officers, DSP Vinay Gupta and DSP Darinder Singh demanded Rs one lakh. We are not a rich family and we had to sell everything, including the little gold I got on my marriage to save Afzal from the torture. Afzal was kept in freezing water and petrol was into his anus. One officer Shanti Singh hanged him upside down for hours naked and in the cold. They gave electric shocks in his penis and he had to have treatment for days.” Afzal could not share the bed with his wife for months. She further said “The police have made him falsely confess before the media even before the trial started. They humiliated him, beat him, tortured him and even urinated in his mouth. I feel deep shame to talk about these things in public but circumstances have forced me. It has taken a lot of courage for me to put all this on paper but I do so for the sake of my child who is now six years old.” 

The ironical question arises “Why Human right activist and the leaders of Kashmir do not appoint a lawyer to defend Afzal?” 

O my Indian brothers and sisters, ask yourself, two death penalties have been given in the span of three months to the victims. Is it not a game plan to be played in the year 2014? Is it not to impress the “right wing” and to “confirm” their seat once again? Think yourself… 

There are lots of questions to ask and lots of things to say, but I don’t prefer to write lengthy articles. You are logical enough to research and judge accordingly. We should be responsible citizen on our own level. And we are responsible in making society a peaceful place to live in – even with our differences. 

I hope we, the people of India, don’t see such kind of cases in future. Else the question remains… Are we safe in this Nation?? 

I don’t prefer to write on political issues, but situations compel me to. I want to stay in my field – The field of Education and Social Service.

Let's change ourselves... Let's change India... Let's change the World... 

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