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Sunday, February 10, 2013

The day India sullied itself again


On February 9, 2013 at eight in the morning, the Indian state executed Mohammed Afzal Guru for his involvement in an attack on the parliament in 2002. The Indian police had him implicated within three days of the attack. Based on only circumstantial evidence, with not a single eyewitness, Mohammed Afzal was sentenced to death by a trial court. The Supreme Court, in the words of the court itself, ‘to satisfy the collective conscience’, upheld that sentence eventually. To put meaning into it would read that they decided to put a human being to death without conclusive evidence to satiate the blood lust of the Indian nation.

The basic tenet of any law states that a person can only be convicted for any crime based on evidence beyond reasonable doubt. The evidence in the case of Mohammed Afzal did certainly not meet those criteria of beyond reasonable doubt. Mohammed Afzal did not at any stage have a proper legal representation, which justices of the Supreme Court chose to ignore.  Perhaps for those justices it is more important to take cognizance of the press reports detailing who slipped on the road to a pilgrimage than the proper representation of an innocent being charged with a crime that could invoke death penalty.

Almost eight years after the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence, Mohammed Afzal Guru was executed in the prison conveniently ignoring all the proper conventions and decencies. By their own admittance, the authorities allegedly informed his family only by a speed post; but the family learnt about the execution only through news. The family has even been denied to carry out last rites for the deceased executed by the Indian state to satisfy collective conscience.

It couldn’t have got more appalling than to see people actually celebrate the execution. Communalists and secularists, capitalists and socialists were all seen to be jubilant. Only if they would care to know that those are the symptoms of a fascist state in making. The police in Delhi outsourced its duties to the thugs of saffron brigade and actually facilitated them in physically beating those who tried to protest peacefully against the execution of Mohammed Afzal by the Indian state.

And if Indians still think that one day Kashmiris can be won over, the Indian state nailed the last nail in the coffin of that hope by cold bloodedly executing Mohammed Afzal against all evidences.  Should the Indian state or its people be under the impression that people of Kashmir can be coerced into submission through gross revulsive tactics, they better read history. All that happened in the execution of Mohammed Afzal was that India sullied itself again.
 -Rajiv Kumar