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  Global Views
Afzal's Death Sentence: Politics or Clemency
By Tanveer Jafri
Contributing Writer
Mohammad Afzal

December 13, 2001 was the most unfortunate day in the history of terrorism in India when pak trained terrorists made a cowardice attack at 11.45 on Indian Parliament, considered to be centre of Indian democracy.

During this incident of firing, six policemen and an employee of the parliament laid their lives. The youth of Delhi Police killed fire dreaded terrorists in this event. When these terrorists, with A.K. 47 & dangerous equipment, were trying to break the safety net of the parliament Gate No. 12, there were many ministers of the centre & Members of Parliament present in the Parliament.

The hearing of this case was done by a special court POTA that declared death sentence for the main conspirators Mohammad Afzal Guru & Shaukat. The Supreme Court, during its hearing, changed the death sentence of Shaukat to ten years imprisonment. Two other accused Abdul Rehman Gilani & Navjot Sandhu alias Afshan Guru was acquitted because of non-availability of evidences. For the capital punishment declared for Mohammad Afzal Guru, there had been a deep pondering over it in the Supreme Court for the last two months & the honourable judges couldn't reach any conclusion to lessen his punishment. At last on the August 4, the Supreme Court in its final decision verified the capital sentence for Afzal & fixed October 20, 2006 for him to be hanged. The Supreme Court in its final decision clearly stated that Mohammad Afzal Guru not only took part in the attack made on Indian Parliament but he played an active role in the plot of this accident. All the evidences were against the main conspirator Afzal who had played an important role in this event.

As the day October 20 is drawing near day by day, unfortunately all the political parties are trying to take their benefit politically. Persons who are politically dependent on the votes of Kashmiri population such as Ghulam Nabi Azad, Farooq Abdullah, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed & the separatist leaders as Mir Vaiz Omar Farooq' & Yaseen Malik etc have adopted the same language that the death sentence of Afzal should be done away with. Farooq Abdullah is warning that it will add fuel to the fire of terrorism. Yaseen Malik is saying that this will obstruct the so said peace talk between India & Pakistan. Surprisingly, all the human rights organisation political parties, elites & scribes have joined the movements of hanging of Afzal or to change his death sentence to life imprisonment.

Some of the people had never been in favour of capital punishment. They are also pleading for the change of death sentence to life imprisonment for Afzal. This group states that it is always inhuman to hang till death to a living human being or make anyone die. Such punishment shouldn't be allowed anywhere in the world. Undoubtedly these people or organisations are those who love humanity & they consider it inhuman to give death sentence to a human being. But this group must think that an accused is given this death sentence only after deeply looking into his gravity of crime, his barbarous work, seriousness of the crime and on the basis of evidences and witnesses. As such instances, is it genuine to cry in favour of such a dreaded convict who had never thought of humanity and there had been nothing in his life but cruelty.

The group, who opposes death sentence, too had expressed its opposition and morning by burning candles when a ravisher & killer named Dhananjay Chattarjee of Kolkata was being hanged because of a heinous crime. In my opinion, the ravishers, the culprits who prepare counterfeit life saving drugs, treacherous, disloyal to nation & country & those who conspire to destroy the communal harmony of the country, those hypocrites who pretend to be loyal to country but are not, who sell the secrets of the country should be given death sentence. Those who talk of human rights must opine that even when there is a provision of death sentence in India, the graph of crimes is rising high & in case this provision is eliminated, what effect will it have on the professional evil doers?

The arguments in favour of hanging or not hanging are totally political. In some states there will be legislative assembly elections in the near future. In the election, the political parties are trying to make the death sentence of Afzal as the central point for the polarisation of votes on the communal basis. As Bhartiya Janta Party, itself is playing a political game on the point of death sentence of Afzal, whereas at the same time, Congress is trying to keep itself away from this point. The left parties are openly pleading for rethinking about the death sentence of Afzal. Before pleading for changing the death sentence of Afzal to life imprisonment, the pleading must keep an eye of the background record of Afzal that he was a Pak trained terrorist before plotting to attack the Indian Parliament. After surrendering himself before the Indian Armies, he had pretended to keep himself away from the terrorist activities. But it was a mere hypocrisy. This man who is untrustworthy, cheat & of mean nature, made a cowardice attack on the Indian Parliament, the first attack made in history on the sanctum sanctorum of Indian Democracy. As a result of this conspiracy, more than a dozen people lost their lives. In spite of long discussions & evidences, the courts couldn't find any proof to make the basis for changing the death sentence to life imprisonment. Then what do the pleaders for clemency in death sentence of Afzal want? This argument is also baseless that Afzal himself neither fired nor killed anyone during the Parliament attack so he should be pardoned. Indian courts, since their beginning, depend on plotters more than of those who do the actions. On this basis, Kehar Singh who plotted for the murder of Indira Gandhi was given capital punishment. Many more had to face hard punishments who involved themselves in plotting such conspiracies, so this argument is also baseless for the persons who are pleading in favour of Afzal.

The death of Indian soldiers who laid their lives during the encounter with the terrorists must not be forgotten. They laid their lives while defending the sanctity of Indian Parliament. Their relatives have to pass through the quite difficult periods. What else can be in store of these plotters? Only & only death sentence. Ancien Regime- Measure for Measure.

Other Articles by Tanveer Jafri
     Shia-Sunni Conflict: An Outcome of American ...
     Pakistan on the Verge of Collapse
     Likelihood of Military Rule in Pakistan
     Why the Fatwa against Terrorism Is ...
     Angola: A Conspiracy to Ban Islam?

Mr.Tanveer Jafri, who serves as contributing writer for The Seoul Times, is a noted columnist in India. He writes in a variety of issues including world peace, anti-terrorism, and national & international politics for numerous news dailies and portals in India. As a devoted social activist he is a member of Haryana Sahitya Academy & Haryana Urdu Academy.






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