Saturday, August 23, 2014
 
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When”Dher Aaye is not Darusat Aaye”


By Yash Bhasin



The hanging of Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal Guru in Tihar Jail, on the morning of Saturday, Feb 09 has been widely welcomed in the country and across political and social spectrum. However, as exception to the general mood of satisfaction in the country about a right message having gone through that perpetrators of terrorism, waging war on the country and in the process causing loss of several valuable human lives, deserve no mercy, some so called human rights activists and self styled liberals have condemned the execution. For them rights of terrorists and unlawful elements, involved in killings of innocents and even of security forces personnel, who safeguard over frontiers, life and property, is more sacred than the rights of their law abiding victims and of the martyrs for the cause of the nation.


The main three arguments are advanced against hanging of Afzal Guru. The first is strong pitch against capital punishment. This issue is being hotly debated and the plea against awarding death penalty is that no human being or system has the right to snatch the life of a person, how much hard criminal he may be. The death sentence is described by these advocates, as an uncivilized and inhuman judicial course. However, many of the advocates for removing death sentence from the statute book had been strongly pleading for awarding death punishment to the rapists. In the wake of gang rape and killing of a Delhi girl in early December last, triggering strong protests all over the country, the voices of death sentence to the convicts of rape had become louder. The Union Government’s ordinance issued recently for dealing with convicts of rape and sexual assault on women, leading to the death of the victim, to have kept awarding of death sentence to the convicts. So long as death sentence remains in the statue book, awarding the same in a rarest of rare case, is the prerogative of the Judiciary and the executive has to honour it. This can be no body’s case that the attack on Indian Parliament, the vital institution of our constitution and democracy, which had also caused lives of eight people, including five security guards on duty and which if accomplished successfully, would have eliminated many members of parliament, both from the ruling parties and the opposition, who were in session at that time, is not rarest of rare case.
The second argument advanced against hanging Afzal Guru has been that he had not been provided ample opportunity to defend himself, which is the right of every accused. It is argued that Afzal Guru was not provided expert and strong counsel to forcibly present his defense in the trial course. But the fact remains that Afzal Guru had confessed his active involvement in the conspiracy to attack Indian Parliament, on December 13 2001 and that he had monitored the execution of the plot.


Afzal Guru was a militant associated with JKLF and having crossed over to Pakistan for getting armed training, to indulge in acts of sabotage and subversion into this part of J&K and others parts of the country. Although he had surrendered later and was believed to be leading a normal life first in Kashmir and later in Delhi, where he also did his Medical course, Afzal Guru could not resist the temptation to join the conspirators and the pleading by their leader Gazi Baba to become a part of the plan to accomplish terrorists attack on Indian Parliament.


The plea taken by Kashmiri separatists and some others in the country that Afzal Guru was not provided proper defense in the trial court is an after thought and belated. No such plea was taken during the course of trial. The members of Bar Association Kashmir, who are now raising voices of proper defence counsel not provided to the accused, had not thought it proper at that time to come forward to plead his case in the court. Why any of the separatist outfits nor the Bar Association of Kashmir came forward to defend Afzal Guru at the time of his trial.


The third argument advanced against hanging Afzal Guru, even after his death sentence was conformed by the Supreme Court of India that the same will disturbed the fragile peace in Kashmir, setting the valley on fire and it leading to further alienation of Kashmiris is the weakest and most inappropriate argument. The Judicial process and honouring its verdict by the executive authority can not be made subservient to the muscle flexing and threats of disturbing law and order and peace. Any surrender before these threats and such suggestion only leads to providing encouragement to the outlaws and anti national and anti social elements.

However, Inordinate delay In executing the death sentence, up held by the Supreme Court eights years back an Omar’s indiscrete observations are responsible for the present fall out in Kashmir, of Afzal Guru hanging .

Inordinate delay in execution of death sentence to Afzal Guru coupled with indiscrete observations by the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in the past over his execution and its fall out in Kashmir has led to the present situation that has developed in the valley after hanging of Afzal Guru, on Saturday morning. The Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, a native of village in Sopore, Kashmir was sentenced to death by the trial court of S.N Dingra , as early as in 2003, after adapting quite a lengthy judicial process, with in little over one year of the terrorist attack on parliament, in December 2001 taking place. Three accused, all belonging to Kashmir were convicted as having hatched a conspiracy an being Masterminds behind the attack. All the three, namely Mohammad Afzal Guru , Shauqat Guru and ASR Gilani were sentenced to death penalty by the trial court. However, on their appeal in the high Court against the sentence, ASR Guru was acquitted of the charges, on account of want of adequate evidence of his involvement, while Shaquat Guru’s sentence was reduced to 10 year’s imprisonments. Afzal Guru’s death sentence was held valid by the High Court. Later the same was conformed by the Supreme Court of India in 2004. His mercy plea to the President to was a rejected little after that. If the acquittal of SAR Gilani and commuting the death sentence by the High Court is not questioned and no reflection on the Judicial process is cast on this account, where lies the justification in questioning the Judicial process confirming death sentence to Afzal Guru by the Delhi High Court and the Supreme Court of India?
The Home Ministry and the then President of India Madam Pratiba Patil kept on sitting over the file, shuttling it from one end to another, taking about seven years for the convict to be actually hanged. In between pressure was mounted by the right wing opposition parties, mainly the BJP for early hanging of Afzal Guru, charging Congress led UPA Government of being soft on the terrorists, daily dallying in bringing them to Justice. Ample time was given to the divergent forces to pitch for executing the death sentence and commuting the same. The Kashmiri terrorists and separatists were given a long rope to hurl threats of dire consequences of hanging Afzal Guru, thus creating a fertile ground for them to create unrest in the event of execution of death sentence to Afzal Guru.

Unfortunately, even the main stream Kashmir based parties, the PDP and N.C also adopted pro separatist line on the issue to appease them, as a vote bank politics. Even the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah made indiscrete and irresponsible remarks that if Afzal Guru was hanged, it would lead to a serious situation in Kashmir, disturbing the peace and normalcy there, as well as complete alienation of the people in Kashmir. Omar Abdullah made these remarks after the Tamil Nadu State Assembly passed a unanimous resolution for deferring the death sentence awarded to killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and the Union Government bowing before it. On the heal of it Punjab Chief Minister, Prakash Singh Badal, After high pitch was raised by sikh calergy against hanging former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh’s killer Balwant Singh Rojaona, made a passionate plea to the President of India and the Union Home Minister, for reviewing the issue of black warrants against him.


Thus, the situation that has developed today in the valley, necessitating imposition of curfew and other repressive measures is the equal responsibility of all these factors. Impression is allowed to be created that the Indian Government has taken the action under pressure from the opposition forces in the Country and the same is interpreted as a Political decision to take sting out of the BJP attack on the congress over its dilly dallying in the matter.

Continous Dilly dallying over hanging of Rajiv Gandhi killers and Beant Singh killer, whose death sentence too has been up held by the Apex Court will provide some weight to the charge of Afzal Guru hanging being selective and politically motivated.

However, Omar Abdullah’s grouse of hanging selectively Afzal Guru and not executing the death sentences awarded to former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh’s killer, Balwant Singh Rojana, the convict to death Bhuller, for Delhi blasts and the killers of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi has some weight. Executing death sentence of Afzal Guru and not to Rojana, Bhuller and Rajiv Gandhi killers, whose cases are almodt similar to that of Parliament attack mastermind Afzal Guru, will have the cause for Kashmiris to complain of Selective victimhood.


(The writer is a senior journalist of J&K state)


(Opinions expressed in write-ups/articles/Letters are the sole responsibility of the authors and they may not represent the scoopnews.in)


Editor, Scoop News



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