Seriously, 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 treatment, 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
Photos: Konkani World, Chennai Online