Srinagar, February 10, 2014 (PPI-OT): In occupied Kashmir, describing the secret execution of Muhammad Afzal Guru as the most shameful act of the Indian government and a blot on the so-called democratic face of India, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), a human rights body founded by socialist leader Jayprakash Narayan in India in 1976, has urged New Delhi to immediately hand over mortal remains of Muhammad Afzal Guru to his family.
In a press statement issued in Jammu PUCL President N D Pancholi said, “The Supreme Court of India in recent judgment titled as Shatrughan Chauhan Vs Union of India has commuted the death sentences of about 16 convicts to life imprisonment whose mercy petitions were recently rejected. Had Afzal Guru not been executed hastily in hush hush manner, he would have also been benefited by this judgment on the ground of ‘delay’ in deciding mercy petitions.”
He recalled that Afzal was informed of rejection of his mercy petition only a couple of hours before his execution on the morning of February 9, 2013. A letter from jail in Delhi was sent by post on February 7, 2013 to his family in remote village in Kashmir in such a mischievous manner that it reached the village only after his hanging had taken place, he added.
“The Supreme Court in its judgment has emphasized and reiterated the need for adopting a fair, just and reasonable procedure …so that convict and his family is sufficiently informed in advance about the rejection of the mercy petition, provided legal aid to approach courts again in writ petition and that there should be a gap of minimum 14 days between rejection and execution so that the family is able to meet the convict,” he quoted the verdict as having said.
Pancholi noted with concern that all such requirements of a fair procedure were violated in the case of Afzal Guru with a view to prevent him from approaching the Supreme Court like others and the Indian Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde prided himself openly in taking recourse to such a cunning course while the then Home Secretary R K Singh master minded the secret operation.
“It is obvious that the Indian Home Minister was guided by narrow political consideration of electoral gains, the then Home Secretary was prompt to act in order to quench the blood thirst of his favorite political party, i the BJP, which he soon joined after retirement.
“Afzal Guru was number 21 in the death row prisoners but the queue was broken to hang him secretly. And to top the brutality, his body was refused to be handed over to his family, and because of this refusal, Ghalib, the 15 year-old-son of Afzal is under the false hope that his father is still alive hidden somewhere in Tihar Jail,” Pancholi said.
On the other hand, the Pakistan government, he stated, did not behave as that inhumanly and promptly handed over the body of Sarabjit, the Indian prisoner, to his family. “Tabassum, the wife of Afzal in particular and Kashmiris in general, are confirmed in the belief that Afzal was discriminated because he was a Muslim and a Kashmiri,” PUCL president said in the statement.
For more information, contact:
Kashmir Media Service
Phone: 92-51-4435548, 4435549