Shabnam Qayoom

As everybody was talking about the unfair trial and the inhumanly manner in which Afzal Guru was sent to the gallows, it was the editor of a local daily Shabnam Qayoom who contributed a bit albeit differently. In a special number of his weekly Qaumi Vikar (National Pride), in memory of Guru, Qayoom carried a letter that he had received from Guru. Though he himself did not believe in the contents, it definitely effected a twist in the story.

In the letter Guru contradicts the popular notion of him being ‘trapped’ and fiercely reacts to the use of word “conspiracy” for the Parliament attack.

Shabnam believes that by the time of writing the said letter, Guru was convinced of his fate. Interestingly there is no date on the letter when actually it was written.

Guru according to letter was not remorseful for his role in the December 13, 2001 Parliament attack, but described it as part of “resistance in Kashmir” and resented efforts to link it to conspiracies. Addressing Qayoom, Guru had angrily reacted to the comments allegedly made by UJC supremo Syed Salah-ud-Din that parliament attack was a conspiracy.

“It pains my heart. Do not dub December 13, 2001 a conspiracy,” the facsimile of the published letter said. “December 13, is linked to Kashmir issue. If it is a conspiracy, then entire militancy is a conspiracy. We should not feel ashamed of December 13.”

In the subsequent paragraphs Guru addresses the freedom fighters in Kashmir not be ashamed of the parliament attack.  “The people who converted Kashmir into a graveyard, spilled blood of innocuous and innocent people, converted Kashmir into garrisons, rehabilitated officials and politicians involved in the sex racket are not ashamed, why should we?” asked Guru.

The letter nullifies all the previous letters of Guru which by and large portray him as the ‘victim of the situation’.  “As far as my letters which have been published in newspapers and books are concerned,” the letter says, “it is a clear conspiracy against me and my lawyers are responsible for this.”
Other letters maintain that Guru was framed in the parliament attack case and had no direct involvement. Interestingly, most of the other letters Qayoom’s bi-lingual paper carried stands in stark contradiction with the said one.

But it is not something that Qayoom has not done earlier. He has gone against the wind many times. For one of his stories he was taken to the court and he won the case. Even prior to that, Qayoom tackled contentious issues in such a way that he seemed an activist. But this letter that is written by the same hand who had written the three liner last letter of Guru helped Qayoom to be on front page in most of the mainland newspapers.

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