On Feburary 9, just when people got up after a long overnight sleep and switched on their TV sets, India’s electronic media seemed victorious as if the mighty state of India had suddenly achieved something extraordinary. The whole country was provoked to celebrate the event. From moderates to hardliners, from communists to stipend religious clerks, from comparatively soft Barkha Dutt to biased Arnab Goswami, everybody was looking jubilant and screaming that ‘justice has been done’ by hanging 2001 Indian Parliament Attack convict, Afzal Guru and that the collective conscience of billions of Indians was satisfied.
At 8 am, a confident looking well-suited Indian home minister with a smiling face which gave a notion that it was he who dared to do it, appeared before an overcrowded press conference and declared like a king “Afzal Guru has been hanged in Tihar Jail this morning.” These words and the expression of Mr. Shinde was almost similar to the words used by US president Barack Obama on May 2, 2010, when he informed his countrymen and the world community that Osama Bin Ladin had been killed in Pakistan.
On May 2, Sarabjit Singh awaiting death sentence for his involvement in killing of 18 innocent citizens in a bomb blast in Pakistan was assaulted in a cowardly act most probably at the behest of Pakistani agencies in Court Lakhpath Jail in Pakistan. Indians have been crying all along that terrorism has no caste, creed, colour, religion and nationality. If this definition of terrorism is to be believed, then Indians will have to say what was the difference between Osama Bin Ladin, Ajmal Amir Kasab, Afzal Guru, Chemel Singh and Sarabjit Singh. Whatsoever their answer, a layman would say that the only difference was that some killed Indians, some Pakistanis, some Americans and some Kashmiris.
Just when the news of Sarabjit’s brutal death surfaced, Indian electronic media and grand politicians including Mr Shinde were again on toes. But this time, he was red-faced, very angry, highly frustrated and aggressive in informing his countrymen about the tragic death of Sarabjit Singh, calling him a national hero, a martyr, a great visionary, etc., etc. The politicians seem to be very much concerned about humans and their rights in a country where animals especially dogs use to enjoy more comprehensive rights than ill-fated humans.
Pakistanis need to be condemned for not hanging Sarabjit as desired by their Supreme Court in accordance with the law of that country and also to satisfy the unexpressed collective conscience of their people. Instead, stoning him to death in a barbaric and unlawful way can’t be a humane act. But Indians will have to answer too. If Afzal Guru and Sarabjit Singh were convicted by respective Supreme Courts of India and Pakistan for heinous crimes and obviously Sarabjit’s crime was more heinous for his direct involvement in the blast as compared to Afzal who was reportedly a conspirator, how can Sarabjit be a martyr, an aspirant for Paramvir Chakra and how does he deserve glorification and what moral right Indian grand politicians have to visit his home and shed tears and console the family and how can these dubious Indian stalwarts call Afzal Guru a terrorist.
Those having a human heart and who have been victim of state and non-state terrorism should definitely stand by the family of both Afzal and Sarabjit. Indian state never wants issues between two countries to get resolved which would stop this dirty game of death and destruction.
The author is an independent lawmaker representing Langate constituency in J&K legislature. Views expressed are his own.