National Conference spokesperson Junaid Mattu Monday said that the decision by the Supreme Court to commute Devinder Pal Bhullar’s death sentence into life imprisonment highlighted stark discrimination somewhere in our system that made the central government to expedite the death sentence of Afzal Guru without him being afforded adequate opportunities and provisions to appeal for mercy – as was done in Bhullar’s case.
“While we do not resent, nor oppose the relief provided to Bhullar,” Mattu said, “we cannot help but wonder why this couldn’t be done in Afzal Guru’s case.”
He said that both the legal process that led to the execution of Afzal Guru as well as the manner of his execution raised a lot of questions about the objectivity and neutrality of our legal system.
“Guru’s family and the people of this state have felt an enormous and palpable amount of discrimination and cannot help but wonder if there are double standards in our country when it comes to such cases,” he said.
Terming the comparison between Bhullar’s case and Guru’s case as one that undermines the very perception and sense of equal and just democracy, Mattu said that unfortunately it has become apparent that citizens of various states get justice according to the number of seats their respective states occupy in the Parliament as opposed to treatment being based on the interpretations of law and on the merits and demerits of legal cases.
The NC spokesman said that a lot of questions have been left unanswered and Guru’s family deserves to be told why he didn’t deserve the same access to justice that was afforded to Bhullar.
“National Conference had repeatedly opposed the death sentence to Guru and had registered its strong resentment on the execution of Guru and also about the outrageous manner in which his execution was carried out,” he said.
He said that this unabashed exhibition of dual standards has only added to the sense of isolation and alienation in Jammu & Kashmir and addressing this feeling requires both short term and long term measures and requires certain questions to be answered with respect to Guru’s execution.