Hanging by reservation?

Mohammad AfzalSeriously, are we onto hanging by reservation? Here, reservation not only connotes that which is communal, but also provincial. This is about Mohammad Afzal Guru, the prime convict in the Parliament attack case in December 2001. The court proceedings have been presenting tensed moments for both his aides and Indian citizens. Finally, after assoiling some, the court has found that Afzal was the mastermind behind the attack. Many questions eruct now, especially in a situation wherein he has been sentenced to death by hanging and that his mercy appeal is pending with the President of India.


The first and foremost is regarding the freedom Afzal got to drive home his point. Until a person is convicted by the court, he remains only accused and should be given all the freedom to argue and if possible, substantiate his innocence. It is highly disputed whether he was given that freedom. If not given, then the President should assuage him by asking the court to continue the trial in a more even and organised manner. Afterall, a person once hanged to death cannot be brought back to life if the decision were wrong. Most of the political parties for and against the clemency are looking for political and religious gains out of it rather than trying to ensure national security.


But if the proceedings undergone were correct and truthful, then without any further thinking, he should be hanged to death immediately. From the agitations that are happening, I see no one claiming Afzal has no link with Jaish-e-Mohammad, a banned terrorist outfit. At best, his supporters are demanding that his sentence should be revised and that he should not be hanged. One claim is that he is a Muslim and he should not be hanged. Another claim is that his hanging would create undesirable backwashes in Kashmir and would adversely affect the peace process there. I wonder what serious peace process is going on there! I would simply disregard all these claims and would demand death sentence for Afzal if there is unchallenged evidence that he was involved in the crime. All of the above claims indicate that he has strong connection with banned terrorist groups and that he had direct involvement in the attack. It is upto the Indian government to guarantee rigorous security measures in Kashmir and elsewhere before the final decision on this is taken.


In that case, he should only be considered as a person who has infracted law and not as one belonging to a certain religion. Regardless of his background as a Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Sikh or anything else, he should be hanged. Some people also go on to say tripe like capital punishment should be given only in the rarest of rare cases. What if all the state assemblies are stormed everyday? Then it will not be a rarest of rare case anymore. Killing more and more people everyday will not make it rarest of rare either.

Let’s put aside our religious masks, and think neutrally. If he was not given a proper APJ Abdul Kalamtreatment, he should be given the freedom to plead his innocense and if he is one of the real culprits, he should be hanged forthwith. What if you set an example by letting scot free a perpetrator that engineered the Parliament onset? I expect the same sensible treatment the President APJ Abdul Kalam showed when he decided to give capital punishment to Dhananjoy Chatterjee for the rape and murder of a girl. Hope the President will not give any religious priorities to any. If he is found guilty, and the President orders to continue with the hanging, it would be the best decision he could take during his tenure. Afterall, he is also a Muslim and hope he leads the Nation with a priceless decision, not buckling under pressure. That’s it.

Photos: Konkani World, Chennai Online

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62 responses to Hanging by reservation?

  1. Absoultely valid argument. If he is guilty hang him!. But I recently saw “The Verdict” show by Rajdeep Sardesai on CNN-IBN. where there a range of issues looked at. What I dont understand is how a person can go through two trials one at the lower courts and then at the Supreme court of India and not have a fair trial. Something fishy, there..!

    As a member of the nation, what I would least want is that he be given clemency, then a few years later some outfit might kidnap someone, and get him released and then a few months later we be mute witnesses to another series of bomb blasts somewhere else.

    The Supreme court of India does not seem to be that supreme.

    Nice post.!

    With Best Regards,
    Srijith

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  2. Re: Srijith Unni

    I am also surprised that this supporters claim he didn’t get a fair trial. Hope that the President inspetcs all these before taking his decision. It is not at all a matter of Islam or Hindu, it is about some anti-nationals attacking the Indian Parliament. No pardon even if he belongs to a special category, and why should there be!

    The matter is as straight as this: Hang him if he has connection with the incident. Even a lesser punishment would mean that he has some link with the attack. The only options that should remain are:

    (1) Hang him if he is a culprit
    (2) Free him if he is not

    Another option sneaking in would mean that he is guilty, but the government and court is afraid of acting against terrorism in India.

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  3. I agree with you. If there are firm evidences against him..he should b hanged. Otherwise People will loose faith on Indian justice system and also it’ll encourage terriorists coz they’ll have no fear then..

    How was your Diwali?

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  4. Anonymous

    Remember Narayamamurthy said, in a 100 metre race SC/ST should start from 40 metres OBC from 30 Metres…What a Shame in this Participation age πŸ™‚

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  5. Re: Sunil Parmar

    Good stand! There is no point in allowing him to live forever if he the convict.

    My Diwali was as usual! No big crackers and all. At my home, with my family! Yes, that is the best part of it. Hope you had a great one…

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  6. Re: Anonymous

    πŸ™‚ That’s a very interesting comment. Thanks for sharing it!

    I have heard another one similar to this. A recruitment process for selecting barbers in a salon. General candidates should cut and shave. SC/ST should only shave and all the other categories, shave only one side!

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  7. A person is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.I do hope he was given a fair trial, because many innocent men have been given the death penalty .

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  8. AFZAL MUST BE CONVICTED AS ANY OTHER CRIME OPERTOR / TERRORIST!
    (I’m using caps and bold just to emphasize my say here)

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  9. Fascinating — It’s interesting to see political news in another country. I would think that if I lived there, I would have the same feeling that you have.

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  10. some decisions have to be given considerable thoughts…
    and if all teh evidence are against him then without wasting any time action has to be taken otherwise it will manipulated by many people…

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  11. Get the latest Outlook and read a masterly article on this by Arundhati Roy.. If atleast 50% of what she has written is correct, Afzal doesnt deserve a death sentence.

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  12. Re: Ajith

    And finally, someone to oar against the wind and flow! I haven’t read the Arundhati Roy article as yet.

    If not hanged, I wonder what could be the verdict that can be given. Free him? Any lower degree punishment would mean that he is a criminal.

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  13. he should be hanged for the sole reason of preserving the lives of many more indians , as well as for keeping any bit of faith that we have left in the judiciary

    who are we kidding .. by saying that he’s innocent ???

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  14. Re: Deepa

    Yes; if there is evidence against him, then why this delay in punishment. Since the President will get every record of trial against him, let’s hope that he takes a fitting decision on this. No reservation issues should creep in.

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  15. Here people doesn’t fear of the outcome when they commit a crime,as India’s law promises to get them out in some ways.And all we can do it sit back and read what news papers have to say

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  16. /The Supreme court of India does not seem to be that supreme.
    /
    Unni, unless we have people who do not work with politicians, we can have a good law.

    If he is found guilty let him face it.You cannot forgive/ pardon a human being for every mistakes they make. Many people easily escape and become scapegoats.

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  17. I wonder why Roy & company wants Afzal freed?? What could be the best punishment (or gift !!??!!) for a criminal, on the mission to destroy the heart of the largest democracy in the world?? to let him go??!!

    AFZAL *MUST* BE EXECUTED, PERIOD.

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  18. The story is available online at

    http://www.outlookindia.com/full.asp?fodname=20061030&fname=Cover+Story+%28F%29&sid=1

    — She does not absolve him of the crime completely..But, the case is something like a man ,who knowingly/unknowingly got involved in this mess, not as the mastermind but as someone who, perhaps was not aware of what he was doing.. The cops needed someone who should be put as the mastermind, and Afzal served that purpose.. thats all..The real perpetrators could be somewhere in Pakistan.

    Read that completely and comment

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  19. he cannot go be sentenced without a fair trail. we beleive in letting a 100 criminals go loose but not to convict one innocent. he ought be hanged. that should be a strong enough reason for people not to indulge in treason

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  20. Re: Arun Pillai

    Punishment should be something read along with the crime. If proven a criminal, no other issues should come up to save the convict.

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  21. Re: Venus

    I do share the same feelings. If a person attempts to make such types of moves, he must be aware that his end is approaching. Arundhati Roy is someone who is always engaged in such issues. But I don’t like the unnecessary involvement of people in such delicate issues, since it can affect the thought process of more people. I wonder where were all these human-lovers when the innocent Indians were killed in Iraq and Afghanistan when the governments acted in a delinquent manner.

    Having said that, let me add this too. If he was not given a fair trial, he must be tried again.

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  22. Re: Appu

    No doubt! If it is treason or terror attempt, kill him. I doubt how the proceedings in the courts were biased so that he was not given a fair trial. My belief is that he was given a fair trial. In that case, he must be hanged.

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  23. hi sreejith! I’m back after a little busy while, so am trying to catch up. well I’m not into politics and don’t know the background, but from your post it’s pretty evident that what needs to be done is not being done. thanks for bringing out the issue, with very valid points.

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  24. Re: Gaurav Jain

    Nice to see you back man! Well, it’s all happening in Delhi! πŸ™‚

    Thanks a lot mate for the kind words….

    Just arrived: – An email was sent by someone betokening that the Indian President and PM would be killed soon on account of the treatment given to Mohammad Afzal and Abdul Nazar Madni….

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  25. our law works weird..it takes political overtones very often..and at times reach levels of ridicule!!..nice analysis!!

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  26. The supreme court does not award death penalty so very often. If it has in this case we might as well abide by it.
    A Presidential pardon for a terrorist activity is definitely not valid. Threats like the ones to the PM & the President need to be seen as plain misuse of democracy. Those sending it should be severely punished!

    Rashmi.

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  27. Re: Randomthoughts

    I agree with you… I am of the view that planning terrorist attacks and women molestation are two offences where we need to award the offender death penalty… There is no point in allowing them to live again, as they do not deserve it….

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  28. hey you know what this shows that how emotional fools are we indins.. he desrv to be hangd no other option for him if we turn it into life time prison then next day we will find our plane on hostile for giving bak that terrorist to thr group

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  29. Re: Alex

    Sure; killing is a crime, legal or illegal…

    But does that mean hanging unto death should be avoided? I would disagree. Capital punishment is a necessity reminding us that some people do not deserve to be alive….

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  30. For me, i think the maximum punishment ought to be, incarceration for the rest of the wrong doer’s life.

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  31. Ok here are some facts, the fact that some people are saying that afzal did not get a fair trial is because in the lower court he had NO LEGAL REPRESENTATION
    the lawyer he had, left him for geelani and after that he could just not get one for himself, maybe because he could not pay the hefty fees or because being the kind of case that it is no one wanted to stand by someone who was perceived to be a terrorist who was accused of planning the parliament attack.
    now if u r familiar with the legal process you would know that the appelate court only reviews the evidence that is on the record of the lower court so since afzal had no legal representation to speak of therefor it is debatable if he could put his side on the record, therefor the review of the case in the high court and the supreme court is a review in a very limited since with respect to afzal.
    also the supreme court’s judgement said that although no clear links have been established between afzal and any terrorist organisation it is clear that he was, however involved in the conspiracy of the attack, therefor he was held guilty of criminal conspiracy, waging war against the nation, and several sections of POTA.
    well i have another argument i dont think it will harm the peace process but it will definitely make a martyr of him.
    how does death help? it only lessens the suffering, let him rot in solitery confinement till he dies.
    i think that is a better death sentence, but the fact that there is still a question mark over his guilt says a lot about our system.

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  32. Re: Raghav

    Thanks a lot for this insightful analysis. Many of the things you mentioned (legal) were unknown to me. Thanks a lot for enlightening me on this.

    What you mentioned about our system is absolutely correct. But I don’t think allowing him to suffer is an enough punishment. We know what happened in Kandahar….

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  33. buddy what happened in kandahar can still happen, what if u were to capture the area commander of the l-e-t, what will u do ? shoot him at sight ?
    i dont think so, unless its an encounter.
    but lets say u capture him, those guys can hijack an indian plane before you can say trial let alone actually hold one.
    what happened at kandahar would never happen to an israel, and that is because we are even today not prepared to pay the price for terrorism.
    we are inspite of all that we have suffered and been through, a soft state.
    hence easily manipulated and brought to its knees.

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  34. Re: Raghav

    It is a fact that what happened in Kandahar can still happen. But another serious issue is ‘why should we allow such dangerous criminals (if convicted) to live again?’. When a deadly virus attacks us, we would like to finish it off rather than trying to quarantine it within the body. I would go for that…

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  35. a good post!

    ALL terrorist and people connected with terrorism should not be hanged

    “BUT be hanged until DEATH”…

    WE need to clean terror out of our lives.

    well done sreejtih for posting this one.

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  36. Re: Passerby55

    Welcome back, after a long break! πŸ™‚

    Thank you so much! Yes, we share common views. It is time we put a full stop to terrorism…

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