Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Afzal Guru's Hanging Case

Afzal was awarded the death sentence by a Delhi sessions court on December 18, 2002, after being convicted of conspiracy to attack Parliament on December 13, 2001. The death sentence was upheld by Delhi high court on October 29, 2003.

He had then appealed against it in the Supreme Court, which rejected it on August 4, 2005. The sessions court had also fixed the date of his hanging on October 20, 2006, in Tihar Jail. He however filed a mercy petition with the President, and since then govt is sitting on his plea.

Procedure involved in mercy petition:

The six step procedure in the Afzal Guru case starts from the President receiving the mercy petition, later which the same will be forwarded to the MHA for an opinion. The MHA then seeks the view of the concerned state government. Then the MHA receives the state government report, adds its own view and eventually tables a report to the President, who will in-turn decide on its recommendation.

A new twist in the tail?

A week before Ajmal Kasab was awarded death penalty for 26/11, the MHA pulled up the Delhi government for sitting over the file of Parliament attacker Afzal Guru's mercy petition for four years. Finally, after sixteen reminders, Delhi Government decided to back the Supreme Court's verdict to hang Afzal Guru. Interestingly, the decision came with a huge rider that the implications of law and order should be closely examined while carrying out the execution of the Parliament attack convict.

Vote bank politics:

The announcement of the date of Afzal’s hanging let to large scale demonstrations in the Kashmir in the form of strikes, protests etc.

Thereafter what followed is the competitive vote bank politics which completely blurred the line between political propriety and absurdity. Farooq Abdullah went to the extent of making a veiled threat that Kashmir would be set on fire and the country will be divided between Hindus and Muslims. He even predicted that Guru’s hanging will threaten the life of the judges who tried him and upheld the death sentence.

Government’s Dilemma:

The offence that Afzal Guru is charged with is not a murder, theft or dacoity. It is much more than that. It is an assault not only on the life of some eight people but a gruesome attack on the very heart of Indian democracy.

Any stand taken by the government, not for any valid reason but for petty political gains, would have serious long term security implication. The Indian state has for long earned the reputation of being a soft state and govt for sure would not like it to be called as a supine democracy in the world.

Courtesy: Times of India

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