I feel sorry for Afzal Guru: Prem Shankar Jha

KL Report

New Delhi

Days after Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of Rajiv Gandhi’s killers, renowned columnist and analyst, Prem Shankar Jha Friday said that the casual and callous execution of Afzal Guru is such a blot on Indian democracy which could not be removed and history will remain witness to this fact for centuries that present UPA government demonstrated that it can be utterly ruthless and self-serving in its deadly political and electoral calculations.

“We are so shameless and insecure that even after a year we are reluctant to handover some of Afzal’s belongings including his spectacles and books to his family. I feel ashamed when I think and realize that Muhammad Afzal Guroo was made scapegoat,” Jha told Srinagar based news gathering agency CNS adding that Guroo was deserving a review petition.

He said that New Delhi sat over the court decision for years before in a hush-hush manner executed him. Furthermore, due process was not followed, his family was informed through speed post; even his body was not handed over to them for the funeral rites and permission for the ‘namaz-e-janazah’ was  granted to them after great reluctance.

“All these acts show the face of jittery government that wants to appropriate for itself the soft tag and gain some measure of credibility among the fence-setting and volatile elements to consolidate its vote bank,” he said.

Welcoming the decision of SC to commute death sentence of the killers of former India’s Prime Minister, Jha said that he feels sorry for Muhammad Afzal Guroo.

“More disgraceful than the judicial killing has been the manner in which he was executed. At a time when the capital punishment itself has come to be questioned and more or less abandoned by more than 140 countries, you hang someone who spent a decade waiting for death or deliverance without offering him the final legal recourse or even letting his family know,” he said adding that death sentence of Afzal Guru was not according to the ethics of law, justice and humanity, and it visibly appeared to be a political game.

Jha said that the authorities did not wait for completion of judicial process after rejection of the mercy petition that includes the right to fresh review petition. It is a gross violation of rule of law.

“Similarly the authorities took the comical position of informing the victim’s family by speed post. Obviously it was done in a calculated manner so that the victim and his family could be denied the legal provision of last meeting before the hanging,” he said.

Jha said that these gross violations of procedures and rule of law is also violation of human rights. This has strengthened the feeling of injustice among the people who were also not satisfied with the legal verdict. This has also resulted in gross sense of alienation among the people of Kashmir Valley.

Jha said that Kashmiris had got one more occasion to feel alienated, as the wounds of Afzal’s secret hanging last year appeared to have reopened. (CNS)


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