“Oh hang your head in shame
Oh, doesn’t your conscience ever bother you
Every time you hear my name
Well, try and think all that I’ve gone through
And then you hang your head in shameAnd cry…” RC
Conflicting views and opinions that are at logger heads have been aired by many from different quarters after the execution of Mohamed Afzal in the terror attack on the Indian Parliament.. Much of the observations, statements, outrage, sadness and all other forms of humanly possible expressions have been based with the eye on political brownie points, besides they were mostly bigoted, impetuous and moored in the perverted philosophy of retribution that we camouflage as justice meted out in a civilized and morally conscientious society.
Foremost, every Indian must ask unto them, why a man accused of (indirect) complicity in an act of war on the country itself, was condemned to die by the Indian Judicial system even when it was apparent that the case against him was only circumstantial, when many pegs did not match the holes and when the accusations against him were not impervious nor fool proof. To put it in simple words how conscientious and prudent was it to send a man to the gallows based on circumstantial evidences? When it is often seen these days by the unnerving dissection of judicial pronouncements by the media and the thinking intelligentsia, that the learned college of Justices do err , it was Afzal Guru’s misfortune that he met the fate he eventually got. I ‘m not in any erudite position to dissect the judgment of the highest court but it is apparent after scouring through analysis and comments on the charges framed on Afzal Guru that vital links are amiss. If death penalty is warranted for the rarest of rare cases surely circumstantial evidences and lack of proper legal recourse for the accused, besides the glaring flaws in the case filed by the investigating agencies will in them question the sentencing to the gallows.
Secondly it was immoral, and cowardice of our society and the government that the man was killed in secrecy and without following humane principles, ethics and decency that other abominable felons were provided. It was an Orwellian morning last week for the biggest sham –called Indian democracy!
When the convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination were given reprieve because of being confined in the death row for an agonizing length of time, why was not that largess or equitable consideration provided to Afzal Guru? He was certainly not a terrorist, though he did have a shadowy past as an aspiring jihadist and later disillusioned by the jihadist philosophy came back into the social stream of the Kashmiri society. Are we trying to believe that there is no place or chance for reformation in a civilized society and in the human mind? If so there is indeed a glaring fault in the very idea of Christian philosophy for instance! And the action of the Indian State sends disconcerting signals to the discontentment boiling among the youth of Kashmir and also a lesson for those disillusioned with fanaticism and jihadist life,- those who want to integrate back into the main stream..
Thirdly, the hoarse braying for Afzal Guru’s blood and for retribution that was heard on and off and the endorsement of his hanging reeks of a vermin psyche. Does it do justice to what we claim to be a civilized, democratic and just society? If his life was to be extinct to save India, the fact is there are plenty who are at large in different walks of life and even cocooned in the immunity of our legislatures who bear direct and indirect threat to the very fabric of civilized society and democracy.
Finally, Afzal’s execution and the swift course of the law towards that once the Presidential pardon was denied, deter separatist tendencies, militancy and negate all reasons for Kashmiri youth to take up arms against the Indian State? Why has the Indian State failed miserably in transforming the outlook of Kashmiris? Why do they foresee or believe that a bleak future and serfdom awaits them and their posterity if Kashmir remains in the Indian Union?Why do they want to opt out of the Indian Union even when they know the misery of the twin nation theory and the abysmal state of Pakistan next door? Why have the Kashmiris not emotionally integrated with the concept of India? And this, even after sixty six years of independence and signing of the instrument of ascension by the ruler of Kashmir, speaks disparagingly of various governments in New Delhi, opportunistic politics and insensitivity of the Indian State. It speaks of total failure of Indian polity. And such judicial outcome and the execution that rivals the secrecy practiced by the former USSR after confining a person eight years on the death row smacks of political expediency and are not helping the cause of sealing militancy and terrorism in the valley.