Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Indian Terrorism and Justice: Mohammad Afzal Guru

The Telegraph, Calcutta, India

Saturday , February 9 , 2013

Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru hanged and buried inside Tihar jail
New Delhi, Feb 9 (PTI): Afzal Guru, Jaish-e-Mohammad militant convicted in the audacious attack on Parliament in 2001, was on Saturday hanged in Tihar Jail in an operation shrouded in secrecy, five days after his mercy plea was rejected by the President.
A resident of Sopore in north Kashmir, 43-year-old Guru, sentenced to death in 2002 by a special court and the verdict upheld by the Supreme Court in 2005, was executed at 8 am in Tihar Jail here and his body was buried in the prison premises.
Guru, a former fruit merchant, was found guilty of conspiring and sheltering the militants who attacked Parliament on December 13, 2001, in which nine persons were killed.
Fearing a backlash over the execution, an indefinite curfew was clamped in the Valley and security beefed up. Jammu and Kashmir Minister Omar Abdullah, DGP Ashok Prasad and other senior officers flew from Jammu to Srinagar early on Saturday morning to keep a close watch on the law and order situation.
On December 13, 2001, five heavily-armed gunmen stormed the Parliament complex and opened indiscriminate fire, killing five Delhi Police personnel, a woman CRPF official, two Parliament watch and ward staff and a gardener.
A journalist, who was injured, died later. All five terrorists were shot dead by security forces.
Guru was arrested within hours after the attack from a bus in the national capital.
”Afzal Guru was hanged at 8 am,” Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde told reporters shortly after the execution.
Guru was taken to the gallows at around 7.30 am and appeared calm, a top Tihar Jail official said.
The family of Guru residing in Sopore in north Kashmir was informed about the decision of the Government that his mercy petition has been rejected. This was done through speedpost, Union Home Secretary R K Singh said.
Guru's mercy plea was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee on February 3.
”I examined the file carefully and recommended to the President on January 21 for rejection of Afzal Guru's petition,” the Home Minister said.
Shinde said Guru's case was sent to the then President by the Home Ministry in 2011. “After that there was a new President and a new Home Minister. President Mukherjee sent Guru's file to the Home Ministry.
”We sent it to the President on January 21, 2013. On February 3, the President sent Guru's file rejecting the mercy plea to the Home Ministry.
”I put my signature on February four and sent it for further execution to the department. The due procedure was followed and it was then decided that the hanging will take place on February 9 rpt 9 (today) at 8 am.”
Reminiscent of the hanging of Mumbai attack convict Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani national, on November 21 last year, the execution of Guru, who has been on the death roaw for over 10 years, was kept under wraps in a top secret operation.
Moderate Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has declared a four-day mourning. A complete shutdown will be observed during this period, Shahidul Islam, spokesman of the amalgam, said.
Guru is the second Kashmiri militant to be hanged after JKLF leader Maqbool Bhat who was executed on February 11, 1984 for the murder of Indian diplomat Ravindra Mhatre in United Kingdom.
The attack on Parliament had brought India and Pakistan on the brink of war.
Guru was sentenced to death along with Delhi University professor S A R Gilani and Shaukat Hussain. Hussain's wife Afsan was let off.
Gilani was, however, let off by the High Court in 2003 while the sentence of Guru and Hussain was upheld.
The Supreme Court confirmed the death penalty of Guru in 2005 while in the case of Hussain, it was commuted to 10 years.


Telegraph, Calcutta
Hurriyat calls for four-day mourning
Srinagar, Feb 9 (PTI): Moderate Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Saturday announced four-day mourning on the death of Mohammad Afzal Guru, who was hanged this morning following his conviction in the Parliament attack case.
”We call on people to observe four-day mourning on the hanging of Guru. A complete shutdown will be observed over the mourning period,” Shahidul Islam, spokesman of the amalgam, told PTI.
Hurriyat also demands immediate return of the mortal remains of Guru so that he can be given a burial according to his family's wishes and as per Islamic rituals, the spokesman said.
Meanwhile, the spokesman of the Syed Ali Shah Geelani-led hardline Hurriyat Conference Ayaz Akbad was taken into preventive custody by police in the early morning on Saturday.
”Akbar was arrested by police at 5.00 am and taken to an unknown location,” his son said.
All the senior separatist leaders including Geelani, Mirwaiz and JKLF leader Mohammad Yasin Malik are presently out of the Valley and could not be reached for a comment.
Jamaat-e-Islami condemned Afzal's hanging saying “the hanging of Guru in Tihar Jail mysteriously is an expression of extreme despotism and tyranny by the Government of India”.
”This action has deeply hurt the sentiments of more than one crore Kashmiri people. In order to achieve its nefarious political designs, the party holding the reigns of power in Delhi has always been committing such tactical tyrannical actions since 1947 whenever this party seemed to lose its power,” a spokesman of the Jamaat, Zahid Ali said.
He alleged that the the hanging of Guru also carries a sinister design to create an atmosphere of fear among the Kashmiri people so as to deter them from demanding their ”usurped right of self determination”.


Telegraph,  Calcutta, India

February 8, 2013

Demonise’ charge on Mufti
Srinagar, Feb. 7: Some pro-aazaadi groups in the Valley have accused Grand Mufti Bashiruddin of “demonising” Kashmir with his fatwas, particularly the one that forced all-girl band Praagaash to disband, with one planning to move court.
The calls for action against the Mufti came as the Omar Abdullah government cracked down on the alleged online abusers of the band’s three girls. Three persons have been held and dozens of Facebook users are under the scanner.
While the alleged threats precipitated the band’s problems, the Praagaash girls had cited “respect for Mufti” and “Kashmiri sensitivities” while quitting.
Many pro-aazaadi groups disapproved of the band but distanced themselves from the fatwa. “He (the Mufti) is running a parallel judicial system and the government allows him… we are making the government a party in the case,” said Parvez Imroz of the Coalition of Civil Societies, which will challenge in the high court Bashiruddin’s authority.
Imroz dubbed the Mufti a “self-styled Supreme Court of Islamic Shariah demonising” all Kashmiris.
Telegraph, Calcutta

Monday , February 11 , 2013

Saeed twists SC order to fan fire
- Lashkar founder promises to satisfy ‘collective conscience’ of Kashmiris
Supporters of the Hafiz Saeed-led Jamaat-ud-Dawa participate in an anti-India demonstration to condemn the hanging of Afzal Guru in Rawalpindi on Sunday. (Reuters)
New Delhi, Feb. 10: Lashkar-e-Toiba founder and suspected 26/11 mastermind Hafiz Saeed has found an opportunity to stoke trouble in Kashmir by selectively quoting from the Supreme Court judgment upholding Afzal Guru’s death sentence.
Saeed fished out from the over 300-page judgment the phrase “the collective conscience of the society will be satisfied if the capital punishment is awarded to the offender” and tweeted on it this evening.
“Our promise remains unchanged, We WILL satisfy the ‘Collective Conscience’ of Kashmiri people, with the help of Almighty ALLAH #AfzalGuru,” Saeed posted.
The tweet appeared to suggest that if Afzal was hanged to satisfy the “collective conscience” of Indian society, the Lashkar founder was free to fan the flames for the “collective conscience” of Kashmiris.
But the court’s elaboration was more detailed.
“The gravity of the crime conceived by the conspirators with the potential of causing enormous casualties and dislocating the functioning of the Government as well as disrupting normal life of the people of India is something which cannot be described in words. The incident, which resulted in heavy casualties, has shaken the entire nation and the collective conscience of the society will be satisfied if the capital punishment is awarded to the offender,” a bench of Justices Venkatarama Reddy and P.P. Naolekar had said in their order on August 4, 2005.
The “collective conscience” phrase is often cited by rights activists and some former jurists who disagree with the verdict.
Saeed’s tweet came as Kashmir simmered over yesterday’s hanging of Afzal, who hailed from Sopore. The Lashkar had yesterday warned of retaliation.
In its 2005 judgment, the Supreme Court had also noted that there is no doubt the Parliament attack was without parallel “in the history of the Indian republic” while ruling that the most appropriate punishment for Afzal was the death sentence.
“The appellant… is a menace to the society and his life should become extinct. Accordingly, we uphold the death sentence,” the bench said.
While intelligence agencies reckon the hanging was necessary despite concerns it could be seen in the Valley as a provocation, others questioned the timing.
“It is a purposeless decision. You have put Kashmir in trouble where there was none and weakened Omar Abdullah,” said A.S. Dulat, ex-chief of RAW, the country’s external intelligence wing.
Much of the Valley has been under curfew since yesterday, with the chief minister camping in Srinagar despite the government having shifted to winter capital Jammu.
For the Pakistan-based Saeed, though, Afzal’s hanging could not have come at a better time. Tomorrow is the death anniversary of Maqbool Bhat, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front co-founder who was hanged and buried at Tihar jail on February 11, 1984.
Saeed was quick to club the two executions on the eve of Bhat’s death anniversary. “Maqbool Bhatt’s martyrdom infused new life in the struggle of #Kashmir, #afzalGuru’s sacrifice will pave the way for Freedom, Insha’Allah,” Saeed said in his tweet.
He had begun commenting on “shaheed (martyred) Afzal Guru” within hours of the hanging yesterday morning. He termed the execution “judicial terrorism” by India and called for “peaceful protests” across Pakistan.


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