Saving Terrorist Afzal

119 Comments

Nothing much makes an old news-warrior like me sit up and say “Holy Smokes, are you effing serious?” nowadays—-except perhaps “little people” break-dancing in front of Rajanikant.

Which is when I heard that Kashmiris had taken to the streets in support of a terrorist, I was like “Tell me something I don’t know already”. Also expected was Mehbooba Mufti asking that Mohammed Afzal, Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorist mastermind, not be put to death—-after all she is one of the biggest supporter of Kashmiri extremists…sorry misguided youth. The “spare the terrorist” crowd is also blessed by the august presence of Ghulam Nabi Azad—again no surprise there.

Also according to script is the coverage of the whole issue—Mohammed Afzal’s tear-choked wife moaning the fact that her husband has lost all faith in the Indian justice system and the focus on his seven year old child — after all if the bleeding-heated liberal press doesn’t give us these compelling images, who will? Obviously, they will not show the tears of the widow of the Parliament guards killed and how their children are coping — because they were guards whose job it was to die. Tough luck. This is different — this is a soft-hearted Jaish-e-Mohammed killer mastermind we are talking about. Which is why he deserves our full attention and sympathy.

But then I read this. And I have this “Whoa dude” moment.

The main opposition party, the National Conference, has backed this argument.[to release Afzal]

“The court had given a verdict in the case of Azhar Masood. He was let go and the government of India saved that situation and may be rightly so.

“They can do the same thing – defer and postpone this punishment so that it sends a positive signal,” said Mehboob Baig, Provincial President, National Conference.

Azhar Masood ! If I am not wrong, Mr. Baig is referring to this guy—Maulana Azhar Masood. Founder of Jaish-e-Mohammed, considered to be one of the world’s most dangerous terrorists, who was “let go” as part of the hostage deal for the hijacking of IC814. This Baig chap thinks that the “government of India saved that situation and may be rightly so” and also “sent a positive signal” by handing him over to the Taliban in Kandahar. Which is what he, in a barely concealed fashion, proposes the Indian government do with Mohammed Afzal: defer and postpone his punishment so that he can be let go when the next flight is hijacked or the next VIP kidnapped.

Priceless.

Let me clarify—it’s not Mr Mehboob’s Baig’s love for Azhar Masood that surprises me but the fact that he would choose to articulate his true loyalties thusly.

I have always maintained that the death penalty is too easy for terrorists, far better to make them stay in solitary for the rest of their lives. Also dying makes them martyrs—which is what these Fidayeen types want in the first place. So putting them to death plays into their hands or more precisely into the hands of their handlers—-the merry men in Islamabad.

However it is also undeniable Mohammed Afzal alive will act as a lightning rod for incidents like the IC814 hijack, a fact that people like Mehboob Baig are counting on. Which means as long as he is alive in an Indian jail, many innocent lives are at risk.

This is also around this time that the issue of capital punishment is brought up–mostly as a smokescreen for those with an agenda. Whether retributive justice is as barbaric as the crime is indeed a morally ambiguous topic with strong bodies of reasoning on both sides. I do not intend to go into it here but just point out that the people who are campaigning for clemency for Mohammed Afzal are not the ones who have a general issue with capital punishment—they just do not want a fine man who attacked the Indian parliament to die. After all he is not Salman Rushdie or the Danish cartoonist.

Let me conclude with an anecdote. Dhananjay Chatterjee was a security guard who was put to death for the rape and murder of a 14 year old in August 2004. When some nuns (if I remember correctly from the murdered girl’s school) were asked whether as women of the cloth they supported the death sentence on Dhananjay, their reply was: “We pray for his soul”—nunspeak for “Yes we want him dead”.

Likewise I also pray for the soul of Mohammed Afzal.

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119 thoughts on “Saving Terrorist Afzal

  1. The Desi Dork Media (as some call it 😉 ) luvvs angles like these…… and it ain’t just quest-for-ratings astroturfing. The Indian Media has been compromised quite long ago.

    Remember all that media circus on Rajiv Gandhi’s murderers case… especially the celemcy plea of Nalini? The bleeding heart showmanship of an SC judge to boot too! The much publicised plea to Sonia GAndhi, the pics of that unfortunate child, intensely brooding pics of Murugan the bombmaker all became such a carnival that she got 8 yrs for killing the ex Prime Minister of India. Bravo!

    This guy won’t walk free but there’s gonna be a shitstorm in a teacup.

  2. Well written, Arnab. A rather serious one on Saptami. (Maybe you are peeved not to be in Kolkata today). I empathise, being away myself.

    No, I don’t want blood on my hands – I would hate to be the judge who had to sentence a person, even a terrorist, to death.

    But I would hate it far more if many more people died because I didn’t have the guts to sentence a person to death, as per the law.

    I’m not surprised by the attitude of the Kashmiris – by and large they have a reputation – often justified – of being the most namakharam people in India. Sometimes I feel, that if it wouldn’t be just to let Kashmir become part of Pakistan, and let the people suffer under Military dictatorship, like their bretheren in POK do.

    We’ve pandered to them since independence, because of Nehru’s weakness. With all the privileges, which the inhabitants of POK do not have, they still think themselves to be Pakistanis. I wish some government would have the guts to take away the privileges and force them to see reality for once.

    Yup, Arnab. Why just Afzal. Let us pray for the souls of the Kashmiris who love being part of Pakistan.

  3. While there is a case for abolishing death penalty for common criminals, there is no scope of clemency to be shown in the case of revolutionaries, insurgents and enemies of the state. Their very existance, however isolated is a threat to the life and limbs of citizens – as amply demonstrated by the numerous hostage dramas and reprisal attacks around the world.

    Afzal needs to be put to death, sooner the better.

  4. When I saw thet you are writing about this issue, I was expecting a more humourous greatbong-style article. I am with you on the point made though. Death penalty is too easy. Such incidents make me feel like that a penalty to amputate hands and lags and genetalia and tounge and eyes and screwing the brain and then leave him alive is best punishment. I know its inhuman but so do I feel like for such crimes.

  5. [GB] It is not only the “Kashimiris”, it is also our own greatest pseudo-secularists who will get on the bandwagon soon. Better put Afzal to rest than have another plane hijacked.. The only way to deal with terrorists is to deal them the British did with IRA – hit them hardest.

  6. What I do not understand is, how do these guys get away with this? They actually get elected to power for saying this?
    If this is the direction our very “large and vibrant” democracy is taking, then the days and years ahead are going to be very dark indeed.

  7. I totally agree with you. There is no point sending “positive signals” to terrorists, who dwell with a total negative mindset of revenge and destruction. One life is has no price for them, where they have setup their minds for suicide missions and encouraging youths that they get virgin girls in heaven if they become martyr.

    Actually, there is no point publicizing this issue at all, because we are giving the terrorists advantage by playing with public sentiments. Also, I pity on Gulam Navi Azad for having choosen a wrong issue to get public sympathy and increase vote bank. Sorry dude, you are marring your own public image by supporting this.

    Politicians should set examples so that the youths of Kashmir know what is right and wrong. It is very difficult to reform a terrorist, instead kill him and send a positive signal to youths so that they think twice before making such a choice.

    We remember Dhanajoy because he got an apt punishment for his crimes. Probably there are many others like Dhanonjoy in prison who are convited for lesser crimes or moving around freely (for example goons of Bihar and UP) inspite they are more dangerous, but we don’t know them. Its very necessary for a good society to set a good example for what is BAD.

  8. Dada,

    We need to win Kashmiris hearts and minds.
    Reason why Gulam, Mufti etc are arguing for clemency is because they can see the “ripple effect” and not because they are appeasing.
    As someone said, treat terrorists as criminals hence we need attack their ideology.
    You will hang one, ten will take birth.
    You can talk about “justice” but I want peace and prosperity in Kashmir and India.

    Cheers.

    Sam

  9. its high time india gives independence to kashmir, with a treaty with pakistan saying it will not annex kashmir. this will absolve india of any duties towrds kashmir, and probably concentrate on more fuitful things. kashmir issue is becoming more and more pointless as time progresses

  10. Good post. However, just to play the devil’s advocate (I personally support the death penalty. The only atonement for some crimes is death. Because society is more civilized than the criminal we will use a lethal injection. That alone sort-of kills the theory of society being as bad as the criminal for enforcing death penalty. At least I think so!)

    Coming back to the devil’s advocate part. It is not enough ensuring swift justice for terrorists and traitors (so as not to put innocent lives at risk). Its EQUALLY IF NOT MORE IMPORTANT to have a national constitutional policy of “no negotiation with terrorists”. If enforced strictly (wether is 50 common people or 1 mufti mohammed sayeed’s daughter who by the way is just as common as everybody else) with no exception, a nation at the very least need not worry about IC184 situation(s) where kidnapping is used as a bargaining chip.

    Btw..the last post was really bad 🙂 (very rare occurence)

  11. Greatbong! Reading your blog makes me sad, you do bring out what all is wrong about our country. Of course there is bad press and the politicians are worse as they come. I like the blog, mind you.

    Is there anyway for us Indians to set atleast some things straight? Get the press at the least to behave responsibly and for portray a murderer as a murderer? Hopelessly not!

    You have a happy Dussera.

  12. Sam,

    To argue that letting a terrorist off the hook which has been convicted after due process, mind you no encounters even if you claim that all such encounters are managed, is pretty much preposterous!

  13. Damn, my apologies for an incomplete comment.

    What I meant was that letting of a terrorist who has been convicted after due process in the name of winning hearts and minds is preposterous. Which other category of criminals we should let off? Rapists to win the heart and minds of men?

    Your logic is plain wrong!

  14. Arnab,
    Why the jump to conclusions? Just relax, ol’ boy. I’m sure Yaqoob Qureshi, Omar Bakri, Abu Abdullah, Sheikh Gilani, Javed Akhtar, Nihad Awad, Sheikh Qaradhawi, King Abdullah, Ismail Haniyeh, Azzam Tamimi, Syed Raza Pasha, Iqbal Sacranie, Ahmad Abu Laban, Ahmad Akkari are allll waiting to come out to their press boxes and denounce Afzal, right? I mean after all, Islam is a Religion of Peace ™. So they must denounce a murderer right? right? RIGHT???

  15. In potentially volatile cases like this, the intelligence services of a country usually do what they do best and don’t let the case come to fruition in court at all.

    Where are the encounter specialists, the accidental-death-in-custody experts when one needs them!

    Obviously, everyone’s got to be kept happy. PM’s got to keep the state politicians and their vote banks happy, Pres has to appear always to side with nice ideas like mercy and clemency, the security guys have to ensure a kidnap-and-murder repeat won’t occur, the rabble-rousers have to rouse rabble when they see such a golden opportunity, Afzal and co have got to justify themselves.

    So, they ought to do what any self-respecting film script writer would be able to tell them to do — engineer an escape, an accident, a terminal illness even. Bet all the above parties whose satisfaction is at stake would volunteer to help, to get out of this conundrum. Including Afzal, who, in this way, will be ensured his supply of hymen.

  16. Rightly agree with your statement that as long as he stays in Indian jails Afzal is a risk to life’s of Indians, I’d say rather “only common Indians.”

    Baig citing the precedent of Massod Azhar for Afzal’s release….. Jaish was formed by Azhar only after his release in Kandahar. It is Jaish that was responsible for attack on Parliament

    If Jaise-e-Mohammad can be formed why cannot a Waise-e-Mohammad formed later on when Afzal is free to look after his child

  17. Why is it that the judgement in this case has been delivered so fast whereas normally it takes decades to decide a case in India.. Y havent those involved in the Pathribal masacre been brought to justice.. Or why those mentioned in Justice Srikrishna report havent even been tried till now whereas the Muslims involved in 1993 blasts have been pronounced guilty??

    Someone here talked of “namakharami” of Kashmiris.. But when u capture someone do u expect him/her to be loyal to you? And instead of winning Kashmiris over, some very serious atrocities have been committed on them.. Would after all this Kashmiris have faith in “the great Indian Judicial system”??

    Its very easy to sit at our home and comment. How many of us know what actually transpires on the ground rather than relying on the biased media??

  18. The solution to the entire problem is to make Kashmiris a minority in Kashmir a la China in Tibet or Pakistan in their part of Kashmir. na rahega baans, na bajegi baansuri.

  19. Good post! The release of Azhar Masood cost us so many lives; and with every Jaish-e-Mohd attack it’s a tight slap on our faces for being so soft on terror. And then India expects other countries to support its war on terror !!

  20. So what the kashmiris seem to be implying here is terrorism in Kashmir and its effect on rest of India is quite justified. Nice. And to think for 50 years thousands of soldiers have died because kashmiris can “fight” for their “innocent” terrorist in a “democracy” like India.

    Someone once told me that for all the problems Kashmir has, Kashmiris themselves dont seem to want to get out of it – event such as thes only strengthens that argument!

    S

  21. Hey this is not going to change till we invent time travel… We should use time travel to make sure that we wipe of out the lineages of men such as these… the only way the world can be saved is if such “gentle hearted, soft spoken” terrorists were not born in the first place…

    Let the infidels and kafirs be unborn…

  22. @anon – namakharam – really, read what’s written – The great Afzal is not the namakharam – the darling Kashmiris crying to have him released are.

    The use of the term is not only for the beahviour of the terrorist lovers, it’s been used for years especially to describe the Kashmiri shawl-seller community, who are seldom trusted, even by their bretheren.

    What the hell, feel sorry for the Kashmiris, so freely slandered by us bigots. But remember, even though the Indian government has made many efforts to make up for the alienation in the past, the Kashmiri politicians and the maulanas and the mirwaizes continue to peddle alienation to keep their constituency. And the people there are happy to fall for the plot.

  23. it’s time we do something about this gr8 indian comedy show! how far shud we tolerate this nonSense? how much can we stretch ourselves any more? one CM gives clean shit to SIMI, other CM asks for clemency for a terrorist. may be someday, they will ask terrorists to be tried at shariyat courts.

    yes. we want this GUY to be DEAD!

  24. YES!

    A tooth for a tooth,
    an eye for an eye–
    a life for a life.

    I am ALL for capital punishment (sorry to Beau Peep). According to Kautilya, let it act as a deterrent.

  25. Pingback: Saving A Freedom Fighter at Retributions

  26. Why not give Kashmir to Pakistan and get over with this altogether. They are spreading terrorism and killing people only because they want Kashmir. Lets just give it to them.

    Kashmir WAS a paradise, not anymore. What was the last time you guys went to Kashmir? Who f*cking ventures out to Kashmir, knowing that they chances of returning back alive are the same as their chances of topping Bill Gates in wealth.

    Kashmir is a huge headache (to put it mildly) for India. Here is a proposition, lets sell Kashmir to Pakistan for some big fat figure and use that money for educating the underpriviledged children, setting up hospitals etc.

    Anyone dig?

    oh btw, incase you guys were wondering. I am an Indian, by heart and by birth. Jai Hind.

  27. @The Wanderer: When I hear tha Afzal is to be granted clemency to keep in mind the sentiments of Kashmiris, aren’t we formally accepting that ALL Kashmiris are terrorists?

    @Sayon: Yes I am coming round to that POV. It’s time we liberated Kashmir and then made it impossible for Indians to holiday there and boost their economy. Let them be a part of Pakistan and see if they can survive. You only have to look at the mess “Azad Kashmir” is in to see what will become of a Pakistani Kashmir.

    @Sudeep: Hmm.

    @Ashish Gupta: True. One does feel like that. However putting our rational hat on, we need to realize that we do need to distinguish ourselves from THEM. Hence torture is a no-no.

    @GHE: Yes of course. It’s obvious that these people are just waiting for a hijack.

    @Anonymouse: Indeed they get elected *for* saying this. And before we look at Kashmir, we should look at old Paswan/Sharad Yadav who campaign with an Osama-look-alike. And guess what, both win !

    @Amit: Ghulam Nabi may be tarnishing his image outside Kashmir but in the context of the politics in that state, he is just “staying alive”.

    @Sam: Oh puleeze. We have been winning Kashmiri hearts and minds for years now–giving them special status and economic packages. Spare us the liberal claptrap please because the facts do not support it.

    @Achal: Point.

    @Amit Behere: Oh my last post was bad. It would be instructive to know why you found it so bad…considering that a few others liked it quite a bit.

    @Aravind: You have to realize that the press is mostly run by people with definite political/idealogical agenda.

    @Confused: Agree.

    @Greatbong for President: And all you could say, with such a great id, was “Manu”?

    @Tushar: Love the “TM” 🙂

    @DeepDown: The encounter specialists are bumping off people for money. Which is unfortunately what happens when law officials start taking the law into their own hands.

    @Clairvoyant: Thanks

    @Beau Peep: Instead of the ‘”sadists and cowards” why not tell us why they are “cowards”.

    @Nitin: So it will be. Lashkar-e-Afzal and what not.

    @Dodo: Not much of a surprise.

    @SP: Thanks

    @Anonymous: Hehe. When judgement is delivered fast, it is a problem. When it is delayed, it is a problem. And while it is true that the people named in the SriKrishna commission have not been brought to justice, how does that in way justify not bringing Afzal to justice? What serious atrocities have been committed on Kashmiris oh wise Anonymous? And what about their special exalted status and the sops doled out to them through the years (it’s another matter that the Abdullah family has pocketed a lot of it….that’s a Kashmiri too)…

    @Anonymous: Heh. There is an Article that prevents that..

    @Unknown Indian: Hmm.

    @Sb: As long as we have “anonymous” liberals and their acolytes, I am afraid we shall never learn.

    @Suyog: Indeed…the assertion of Ghulam Nabi is a plain acceptance that Kashmiris are all terrorist-sympathizers.

    @Sumod: Ahem.

    @Vinay: Shall keep posting.

    @Vuttaa: Yes UP is run by a terrorist-friendly government….I wonder what they are saying about SIMI after the 7/11 verdict.

    @Swati: Mm.

    @Jaish-e-Mohabbat: Sell? To Pakistan? With what shall it pay us? But seriously, it is perhaps time for us to make them appreciate how worse off they will be once they get independence.

  28. There are posts in thread that somehow do not make sense to me. And yet, I have been trying to pride myself in understanding opposing view points.
    There is this group of 100 people who are sworn to wipe out this other group of 1000 people off the face of the earth. We say we are nice people, we are civilized, we have principles, we will not hurt you. What happens then? We are bombed on our way to work, we are mowed down on the streets and in the end we are a dead bunch of 1000 great people?
    What exactly do the people who preach forgiveness want? That we go to heaven, because we have been nice to them?
    And if giving Kashmir was a solution, it would probably have been done years ago. Thats why we gave off Sindh, half of Punjab and half of Begal right, to prevent bloodshed? Now they want Kashmir too, and in expectation, of such a thing happening, the seeds are ripening and UP and Bihar too. Where does it end? For centuries the country has taken the “civilized” way forward.
    Learn from history that every civilization that has extended to the level where they refuse to defend themselves, where they treat their opponents and give them the same rights as themselves, has been wiped out.
    The barbarians do not have principles, they do not obey your laws, they will eventually wipe you out, unless you strike back. How can you make peace with a people whose stated aim is to supress and opress you?
    Look at Kashmir, what is the strategy there? There were not many people who believed in the ideology being prophesed there. The non-believers were killed, run out of the state, or converted in fear. Till the day comes when the majority is with them. The day has come when the whole process is nearing completion, that is when you see the head of that state uttering words like this, because that is the will of the people there.
    We have seen it for so many years, we know what is coming and yet, we do not believe? Or is it me, who has blinkers over my eyes and is narrow in my vision and terrified of being wiped out?
    To quote (from CNN) something said in another context by the very same people who are claiming Kashmir today

    … We will break up the cross, spill the liquor and impose head tax, then the only thing acceptable is a conversion or the sword.”

    I am all for a civilized, cultured and secural society. But how do you live in one, if your opponents dont believe in it, and the very basis of your beliefs lets them opress you?

  29. @Jaish-e-Mohabbat: Check the link below. This is why we cannot sell / donate Kashmir to Pakistan.

    http://www.jammu-kashmir.com/archives/archives2005/kashmir20050323c.html

    Kashmir is important for Pak ,India and China equally. China is using Pak as a proxy on us.

    Kashmir is strategically too important both because of it’s resources and it’s location.

    Sometimes it’s good not to remove the head altogether if you have a headache. A surgery might as well work.

  30. Some of the posts here make me laugh. Some say “give kashmir to Pakistan”. some refers to Kashmiri’s as “namakharams”…somone advocates that “we” gave half of Punjab and Bengal to “them”. Truly, some of the posts here smack of racism, colonialist view points and others of extreme right wing views. Who are “you” to give kashmir to Pakistan or X ?? It’s the Kashmiris’ prerogative to be with whom they want. Huh..give kashmir. Refering to Kashmiri’s as namakharams it’s the same as Brits refering to pre-independence Indians as traitors. What wud your reaction be if the Brits were to say “We gave Indians the railways, industry, education blah blah and look here they want to kill us and drive us out”…It amazes me how soon we have made the transition, from being victims of colonialism to colonialists ourselves.
    It’s so easy to sit in our homes and say, hang this guy, send a signal, people will be scared shit. No my dear, it does not work that way. Remember JKLF kingpin Mohammad Maqbool Bhat’s hanging in 1984. What signal did we send then ? What good did that achieve ? It made that guy a martyr and transformend JKLF where they drew in huge support from the locals. Some here bring out the issue of religion in here. Did you know JKLF was a very secular organization. They considered the Hindu Kashmiri’s to be an integral part of Kashmir as well. The terribly arrogant attitude of the Indian govt. (which is merely relfected in this board) messed up the whole issue and allowed Islamic radicals LeT and JeM to enter the frame. Clearly hanging this guy will quench some of the thirst for blood and will be an appropriate revenge, but will be a huge step backwards in the Kashmir issue. People like Azad are not fools to request for pardon. They know his hanging will act as a catalyst to spread the feelings of alienation. I personally feel this is a great opportunity for the Indian govt. to move forward with the Kashmir issue. Remember the pardon appeal is not to set him free but to change the death sentence to a life term. A overruling of the death sentence will go a long way to build trust, the most important aspect of the kashmir issue. And seriously, what will we acheive by hanging this guy other than bloody revenge ? Nothing. Considering what we ought to gain from the repealing of the death sentence, I think it will be extremely callous to go ahead with the hanging and playing right into the hands of the terrorist organizations.

  31. Greatbong, ur response to Jaish-e-Mohabbat: Sell? To Pakistan? With what shall it pay us? But seriously, it is perhaps time for us to make them appreciate how worse off they will be once they get independence.

    Oh, you sound so much like those viceroys from the queen’s land – Let those browns have independence and then they will truly appreciate the empire’s “benevolance”. Such arrogance, unbelievable.

  32. I was no less surprised to see the Kashmiri reaction. I was wondering why the brouhaha over a man who has been pronounced guilty. The guy has been convicted and is getting the noose for attack on Parliament. What’s wrong.
    But then read an article in Indian Express by Nandita Haksar with the headline ‘We haven’t even heard Afzals story’. that appeared on edit page as anchor.
    She put forward t hree arguments, all convincing against his hanging. It was quite a revelation. I can’t find it on net though. She writes that Supreme Court noted no direct involvement of his involvement, SC expressed concern that he did not mastermind attacl and investigation was unfair and based on illegal investigation.
    Then I recalled Tavleen Singh’s famous book on Kashmir that was so eye-opening and exposed how opinionated we are about Kashmir and how press often doesn’t take into account their genuine feelings. I digged deeper, read more and am confused. While I feel that no amount of protest should ever spare a guilty, a capital punishment may be avoided. And it should not be as the court calls for his killing ‘to satisfy the consicence of nation’ when the real perpetrators are safe in their den.
    Meanwhile, whoever wrote this NAMAK HARAAMI word has not done a service to the nation. It’s very cheap to label any state or people of that state. Blogging is perfecto discuss and give vent to anger but such badtameezi should not be allowed. When massacres like Chittisinghpura occur, everybody plainly writes terrorists shot, but when the reality comes in nobody asks for the indictment of the guilty armymen.

  33. Adnan,

    I read the Nandita Halskar article. What I don’t get is, if SC thinks this dude had no direct involvement, if he had no lawyer and such, then why did it convict him? Remember it set free two of the other accused and reduced the sentence of one. SO why would it not set free Guru if he was not guilty, as Ms. Halskar would like us to believe.

    And no lawyer, ahem. Considering how strongly has Halskar and her kind taken up his case?

    Finally, what is this nonsense about clemency? If this guy is not guilty, set him free, the state has no right to hold him even for a day. If he is, then the highest court of the land has the right to decide the punishment.

    let Ms. Halskar, convinced as she is of his innocense, demand a retrial.

  34. Adnan,

    While its nobodies case that lapses in procedure should not be pointed out, at least the Delhi Police/CBI has done a whole bunch of investigation and come up with a case that stood up in two courts of trial and one court of appeal.

    On the other hand, in whats becoming more common among muslims these days, you allude to conspiracy theories of Chittisingh Pura and so on, that are entirely unrelated to the matter at hand.

    As for Haksars allegation that nobody heard Afzals’ story, have you heard the story of the prosecutors in this case ? Why rush to the conclusion that what Haksar claims is God given truth ? While you find Haksars arguments convincing, many of us dont. And yes, someone who attacks the Indian parliament after having enjoyed the fruit of Indian civil society is a Namak Haraam.

  35. @dipesh: You say…
    A overruling of the death sentence will go a long way to build trust, the most important aspect of the kashmir issue. And seriously, what will we acheive by hanging this guy other than bloody revenge ? Nothing. Considering what we ought to gain from the repealing of the death sentence, I think it will be extremely callous to go ahead with the hanging and playing right into the hands of the terrorist organizations.

    Lovely! I feel like giving you a jaadoo ki jhappi now.What did India lose by not hanging Masood Azhar? Nothing, unless you consider the life of some commoner dude called Ripen Katiyal a loss. And indeed, we sent such a positive signal to the terrorists that Masood Azhar promised to fly the Pakistani flag on Lal Quilla, until Prez Mush told him to keep quiet (and not divulge their future plans beforehand).
    But the only problem with people like me is that they are very stubborn in their viewpoint. If it’s a choice between a Ripen Katiyal and a Masood Azhar… or even ten Masood Azhars, I’d always prefer hanging all ten of them to protect that one innocent life. Let their ten (or more) wives fight for survival, I’ll always feel bad for the single wife of Ripen Katiyal who lost her husband on honeymoon. Call it revenge if you wish, but I want Afzal dead. If not to scare people then at least to prevent another Kandahar. Yes! For revenge. I wonder, if I go and slap you now, will you slap me back (in revenge) or forgive me? What will you achieve by slapping me back? Will the smarting on your cheek go away? Answer this question and you’ll know why we need to hang Afzal.
    Maybe it’s a sin to take a life in revenge? OK then, I’d rather rot in hell. Let Afzal have all the virgins in heaven. Consider them as our gift to the Kashmiris.

  36. @GreatBong
    That was presumptous of me…I did not enjoy the last post 🙂 does not make it bad !! I guess one cannot explain taste. I just thought that is was sort of FORCED funny

  37. @GB: You write so well that I do not feel like commenting on it these days. Most of the times I completely agree with your views. Splendid!!

    @Joy Forever: All this talk about Indians winning the kashmiris over, horse dung 😉

    Also our prime minister has not spoken a single word about the Pak angle in Mumbai blasts.

    We are in safe hands 🙂

  38. As the Americans would say….

    It is up to Allah to punish him for his crimes, it is up to us to set up the meeting. Post haste.

  39. Bah!

    This is nothing. The south can do much better.

    Remember the Coimbatore blasts which killed 60 and maimed hundreds ? The Kerala government convened a special session of their assembly calling for the immediate release of the prime accused and to show their solidarity. Atleast, the Kashmiri politicians are civilized enough to hold off while the case is subjudice.

    Can anyone guess other issues on which special assembly sessions have been called ?

  40. @joy forever : Yes! For revenge. I wonder, if I go and slap you now, will you slap me back (in revenge) or forgive me?

    Well, can’t really say for sure. These days of “gandhigiri” or whatever, people tell me to turn the other cheek actually. But seriously, this slap scenario is not the right parallel. Because I dont have a third option (life-term), I am restricted to either slapping you or not slapping you. And yeah, if not slapping you wins over a thousand other soul who wants to slap you, the choice is obvious.

    @joy forever :Maybe it’s a sin to take a life in revenge? OK then, I’d rather rot in hell.

    who cares whether you rot in hell or not. And who cares whether it’s a sin to take a life in revenge. My point is nothing to do with that, the whole question is whether it’s a right political move or not in the current context.

  41. Adnan,

    Dont know much about the specifics of the case. According to all modern judicial systems in the world – an accused has a right to defend himself in court.

    It is only a right, if he decides not to engage a lawyer or clams up, it just means that he is foregoing that right.Clamming up and refusing to defend yourself cannot be grounds for dismissal of the chargesheet. Always remember that the main reason for this trial is to deliver justice to the slain guards shattered families. If a country cannot deliver justice even after the perpetrators have been caught and tried, we might as well wind up India and invite the British back. This is the primary responsibility of the state.

    Afzal, his family, his well wishers, the Kashmiri politicians should have engaged a top lawyer to present his side of the story. The Hindu or Frontline columnists and other bleeding hearts could have pooled in money and setup a defence fund for him.

    The time for that was when the case was being heard. The time is not now, after the verdict has been announced.

    Again, I am not familiar with the specifics of the case – just making a general comment.

  42. Oh GB, u want me to list out the atrocities.. Well Bandipora killings early this year, Chittisingpora massacre and following it the Pathribal killing are some that come immediately to mind.. Not to forget countless other nameless killings and disappearances happening in Kashmir.. Pray, even yestrerday, some children were injured when army mistakenly fired on them :O

    And the much talked about ‘exalted’ status of Kashmir.. So what has it given Kashmir except prevent it from being populated by hordes of invading Punjabis?? And see what injustices have been meted out to Kashmiris in return.. Ever heard of Indus Water treaty??

    Anyway the point here is that all this has led to a feeling in Kashmir that Indian judicial system is biased. Hence the protests.. I am not against hanging Afzal Guru, but why not hang a certain Narendra Modi alongwith him.. Till then, IMO, the protests are entirely justified..

  43. @Anonymous : you r worried abt the “disappearances happening in Kashmir”? go and check in the terrorist camps which r producing such afzals every day.
    u r worried about the high-handedness of Indian Army who r losing their brave men to save the lives of people like u, then stop joining the camps and be man enough to stand against the Pakis. There will be no need of armed forces to defend u then.

  44. Anonymous,

    Here is the deal dude, if you are a fugging idiot, then ask someone more intelligent before you write a fugging comment.

    Chattisinghpora massacre, was carried out by terrorists against innocent Sikhs! 38 of them were lined up, and shot point blank.

    Before you ask what Kashmir has gained, tell me about the xenophobic people who drove the 300,000 Hindu minorities out of their own land!

  45. @itch: good point. so far its been a stalemate on the kashmir issue. i have a hard time understanding what the kashmiri’s want. do we (or anyone) even know? this nagging headache does not let the country concentrate on other important and far more critical things.

    @dipesh: i dont care what whether the posts seem like racist or colonialistic (hope that the right word). giving kashimir to pakistanis seemed like a hasty idea, but do you have any proposal to solve this issue?

    @dipesh to greatbong: I dont think that was arrogance. its the reality. once india withdraws they’ll be between the devil and the umm… devil – china and pakistan.

    @everyone: All ye smart people out there, does anyone have a freaking solution to this problem? amicable or not.. let me know.

  46. When will we learn, if ever? I am surprised that anybody is even considering granting pardon to this ruthless killer. Why isn’t anybody considering the wives and kids of those killed in the parliament attack? Since when did the “innocent” kids of criminals become so important that their fathers are excused for killing people?

    GN Azad is actually asking the president to let him go. Not only excuse the death sentence but to release him. What kind of a message are we sending by releasing those who dared to attack the very foundation of our democracy. It amazes me that the whole rant is not against capital punishment but against hanging this guy.

    Unfortunately, hanging is the worst punishment we can give him. I wish we can mate out something worse than death. How many Masood Azhars will it take to us to adopt a stern stance against these bloody killers? When will we stop treating kashmir with gloved hands? If this guy is pardoned, does everybody expect the kashmiris to bow down to the warm heart of the Indian state? Or do we see more people emboldened by the easy let off that this guy recieved?

    Recipe for a successful terrorist in India:
    1. Kill people
    2. Go to jail
    3. Put your kid on TV
    4. Get pardon
    5. Repeat from 1

    Just too frsutrated…..
    ~Tintin

  47. @Dipesh: Dude, if I slap you and you forgive me, the only message that I will get is that “Come slap me again and again, I’m too impotent to fight back”. Not only that, I’ll try and slap other people too in the future. And if there are a thousand other souls wanting to slap you, forgiving me will only send encouraging signals to them. On the other hand, if you give a tight ringing one on my face, I will probably never slap anyone in my life again, or at least thing twice before doing it.
    But how does it matter to you? Lives of people, or plane hijackings are non-issues. As you yourself said, you are only bothered about the “right political move” here.

  48. Jaish e Mohabbat

    I do not claim to be among the “smart people” you were referring to.

    Here is the solution India should hold on to Kashmir as long as it takes. For now its not about Kashmir anymore, its about the whole India. Masood Azhar proclaims his desire of watching the Pakistani flag on Red Fort, our own Maulana Bukhari thunders of a muslim rule in India again.
    Their eyes are not upon Kashmir (where they might have a least little legitimate claim) only but upon every square inch of India.
    This war is not about “freedom of Kashmiris” anymore its about the suvival of India. If someone does not consider her/him self free in a democracy but in a military rule or a theocracy, then lunatic asylum is the only place I think fit for them. Cedeing one square inch would be accepting a little of defeat and now clemency for Afzal would prove again that India a soft state and the militants would be attacking us more audaciously. What if this terroist is given clemency and put in jail for life and after a year couple of other terroists hijack a plane and ask for his release? Would the same ppls not shout for letting him go and may be he ll be freed. And that would be considered a huge victory for the terroists (which is what happened in the case of Masood Azhar).
    If Afzals lawyer thinks he was not given a fair trial why not ask for a retrial than going for a clemency? A clemency necessarily means he has committed what he is being accused of. Now by putting pressure on the judiciary or the government by one way or the another his punishment will be decreased. In a world stricken by terror this is the last thing we need in India.

  49. What the hell. While we love the Gandhian/ Christian ideal of turning the other cheek, remember that Gandhi himself had misgivings of the use of non-violence against totally evil forces (e.g. Hitler).

    While the Law of Hammurabis (Eye for an Eye) may seem outdated by many of you here, remember the strategy – tit-for-tat, has always been the winner of any game theory strategies. In the long run this works. Turn the other cheek works as well only in very limited circumstances (i.e. when the opponent is in general ‘nice’ – by the standards of game theory)

    Indian law has been broken. Under the law, the people who have broken this law should be sentenced to death. Enough – have the guts to support the law, and not fall prey to mawkish sentiments of those who care a fig for the ethics they preach.

    And if you think the conviction was wrong, why did you not fight it in court? The Indian courts have been pretty fair, and have declared many suspects (e.g. Professor Geelani) to be innocent, despite the Police being convinced of their guilt. No, no, it’s easier to criticise the state of victimising you than preventing the state proving your innocence.

  50. This was the first time i ever came across ur blog….now that i have seen it……i’ll make sure to read it often….neways gr8 blog……and i totally agree wid ur sentiments about the stupid media and the useless kashmiri politicians…..i wud love our media to show us the family of the dead guard but i’m sure they wont

  51. if you look at the picture of Afzal’s son in rediff image, you can see the naked defiance even at this tender age. I am sure if the situation in Kashmir is not going to change for a long time, he is going to grow as a terrorist himself. he looks a younger version of a terrorist even now.

  52. You missed a couple of points.

    a. Afzal Guru has not been linked to Jaish-e-Mohammad. Either by the prosecution of by the courts.
    b. By all accounts, Md. Afzal is a minor, non-descript loser. We are making him a martyr by hanging him.
    c. Forget about the politician’s arguments. Most (includign the Kashmiris) actually want Afzal to die.
    d. This execution has given us a chance to settle the debate on capital punishment once and for all. Nobody is going to gain anything by the hanging, except the politicians.
    e. With the public mood being manipulated by the fundamentalist forces, the kiling of Afzal Guru is no different from those public executions in middle-east.
    f. Assuming that he is guilty, nobody is arguing that he should not be punished. The argument is against capital punishment, which is most reprehensible of all crimes committed by the state. Let him live, let him realise his mistake.

  53. @Joy Forever: Dude, if I slap you and you forgive me, the only message that I will get is that “Come slap me again and again, I’m too impotent to fight back”.

    Dude, (ah feel like an yankee now), you don’t get it do you ? Slap is not a right parallel here, isn’t it ? As I said I dont hv a third option (life term) here. And even we stay hung on slapping, here’s a thought for you – that slap in 1984 (Maqbool Bhat’s hanging) didn’t get too well did it…Nobody thought twice before slapping you back did they ? Infact the severity and the magnitude of slaps and counter slaps went up many folds and the saga goes on till date. Ofcourse, we have to think beyond our emotions to solve problems, make the right political moves. A right move now can save thousands of innocent lives later. Do you think suicide bombers, fidayeens, islamic radicals care two hoots about being sentenced to death ? Do you think you are going to put them off by this one execution ?

  54. @saurabh

    Wake up from your stupor man.. The “brave” Indian army actually kills a lot of innocent Kashmiris.. The dissappearences i am talking about have happened from army camps.. And there are many other instances of people being used as human shields.. The army is getting killedin a plac where its presence is unjustified. So whose mistake is that anyway??

    @Confused

    What can i possibly tell someone who is named as you?? Nonetheless i’ll give it a try

    chattisingpora massacre was carried out by unidentified gunmen whose identity hasnt been firmly established.. but it has been widely believed by both Kashmiris and non-Kashmiris that it was a work of govt gunmen (Here is a proof : http://www.greaterkashmir.com/full_story.asp?Date=1_10_2006&ItemID=16&cat=1 )
    If the govt was so innocent, why the hell then was it so keen to place the blame on militants by murdering innocent civilians??

    Dude read some neutral sources before u make judgements. dont just retard yourself on the crap that is Indian media!!

  55. @dipesh: You echo my sentiments. (http://anoopsaha.blogspot.com/2006/10/why-afzal-guru-must-not-be-hanged.html) We will gain nothing by hanging Afzal Guru. Instead, we will come out as a far stronger nation. Afzal is no commander like Masood Azhar. He was a police informant for a major part of his life (10 years). We are going to make him a hero by hanging him.

    @others: I urge, all of you to join the chorus for saving Afzal’s life. Capital punishment is never justified for any crime, especially in a semi-feurdal society like ours. Have we seen a single rich or influential person being handed the death sentence? Its a weapon in the hands of the state to oppress the poor. As Dipesh has mentioned, this is a rare oppurtunity. We will gain a lot by commuting his death sentence.

  56. Well, we can try some Gandhigiri with the guy: get him married to Taslima Nasreen. Keep him confined in a cell where Nasreen, in exchange for her Indian citizenship, would be required to visit him once a week.

    Kashmiris wil be placated and Pakistanis and Bangladeshis will be devastated! Nobody will ever dread to become a jehadi in future…

  57. @Anonymouse: Sigh. Try telling that to some of the gentle, kind-hearted peaceniks.

    @Itch: Perhaps not. But I don’t want a group of anti-nationals being supported and placated by my country.

    @Dipesh: Yes totally smacks of colonialism. Yes I knew JKLF were a secular organization…pity their rank and file did not know it when they went house to house threatening to rape and murder Hindu Bramhins and marking their doors. Now that you have made your sales pitch about the terrorists, can we move on? Sigh. Such ignorance….laughable.

    @Adnan: On the contrary, the courts were extremely fair in their judgements acquiting Geelani when circumstantial evidence against him was pretty strong (it seemed the terrorists called him before and after the attack simply because they were testing their cell phones…hehe)—this is how Geelani, another mastermind, walked free of mass murder.

    @Joy Forever and Ideal Boy: Thank you.

    @Life, the Universe and Everything: That line from “Stormin Norman” sounds great. However too much machoness often does end up hurting.

    @Realitycheck: Hmm..

    @Anonymous: Hehe…and dont ask me to list out the atrocities committed by Kashmiri freedom lovers. And yes why cannot Kashmir be populated by streams of “invading Punjabis”. It’s their friggin country and they can move about anywhere. You sound suspiciously like Balasaheb’s “Maharashtra is for Marathis”…..Shiv Sena-ist that supports Kashmiri independence….??

    @Tintin: Hah. Tell that to anonymous above.

    @Sayon: Yes thats the core issue. Law broken. End of story. No “please keep our (terrorist-loving) sentiments in mind”

    @S.Pyne: No I didnt 🙂

    @Sarat: Thanks

    @Eye Lionking: Well maybe you are reading too much into his eyes….

    @Anoop: A “loser” we had in our jails went and founded Jaish. It does not take a visionary to start a terrorist outfit—just a lot of evil inside.

    @S.Pyne: And then Tasleema will say that Afzal hinted that she sleep with him while reciting poetry about the flowers in the Pakistani terrorist camp.

  58. @greatbong
    So, the argument goes like this. If we don’t kill Md Afzal on october 20, some Pakistani terrorists will hijack another plane from India and demand his release. The Indian state, going by past precedents, will release Afzal, who will settle in Pakistan and start anotehr large terrorist outfit, that will once again launch deadly strikes in India.

    It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me and Iam sure, guessing from your intelligent blog, you know that very well. By that flawed logic, all Kashmiris lodged in Indian jails should be murdered ASAP, as anyone of them is a potential masood azhar (who incidentally, unlike Afzal, was a Pakistani national). And the thousands of naxals in the Indian jails, including the 12-15 year olds who are imprisoned in Jharkhand under POTA, must be murdered by the state as the naxals have demonstrated an equal deadly capability to strike anywhere at will.

    Capital punishment, in any form, to anybody, is reprehensible in any civilised society.

  59. Anonymous,

    And Greater Kashmir is neutral media? Aha, like I suppose ISI and such?

    Your wide belief is confined to deluded folks like you or are you claiming that all massacres in Kashmir are/were carried out by ”government terrorists”?

  60. If there’s one thing that I truly fear, it’s the unified force of Islam. No other religion is so closeknit, so brutal in its worldview, so intolerant of others.

    I dont mean to criticise. I am not being closeminded. I have read history books, and I have seen fundamentalism from all religions and communist belief systems. But none are so carnivorous.

    If you take human nature, and Man’s will to power, Islam is the religion that comes closest in validating it. It is the most successful virus, the fastest growing religion. You have to admire it.

    Islam is monotheistic. It subjugates the commons with fear. It dominates women. It allows Men to have more than one woman. These are all rules made by Man, a very shrewd man who understood human instinct.

    The world is getting harsher as the population grows and the resources run dry. The day we turn this beautiful plentiful globe into a harsh competitive terrain, when the world breaks down, descends to barbarism, a new world order will be founded. It’s name is submission.

    http://www.howardbloom.net

  61. @Saha@ It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me and Iam sure, guessing from your intelligent blog, you know that very well. By that flawed logic, all Kashmiris lodged in Indian jails should be murdered ASAP, as anyone of them is a potential masood azhar (who incidentally, unlike Afzal, was a Pakistani national). And the thousands of naxals in the Indian jails, including the 12-15 year olds who are imprisoned in Jharkhand under POTA, must be murdered by the state as the naxals have demonstrated an equal deadly capability to strike anywhere at will. Capital punishment, in any form, to anybody, is reprehensible in any civilised society.

    Oh get off your high horse. There is only one question that needs to be asked: Does the life of the convict in question threaten the safety of his fellow citizens. The answer to this question is clearly yes. He has achieved an iconic status among terrorist sympathising portions of the Kashmiri population and there is a pretty high probability that Indians will suffer from hostage dramas aimed at humiliating the Indian state and securing freedom for him.

    The life of this fellow, even if he is imprisoned for life, poses a danger to Indian citizens and hence the Indian state has a duty to execute him. The same question needs to be asked for other terrorists in Indian prisons and the same logic needs to be followed.

  62. Great Bong,

    The question is not to prove what they are. The question is what we are and how would we like to be seen as. Executing a prisoner erases the line between the murderer and the society who executes him, which is just murder in the name of justice.

    There has to be a difference between them and us.

  63. Fantastic Arnab. Precisely the point of Gandhigiri! It’s win-win all the way –

    1. Taslima would get material for her new poetry book, and her Indian citizenship.

    2. Ritu-porno can make a film on their union (titled “kobi-o-guru”): since Taslima is a chain smoker, and jail cells lack space and windows, we can expect steamy lovemaking scenes.

    3. The houri-myth will be dispelled permanently, the jehadis will be cured, and the purpose of the punishment will have been served. Kashmiris will embrace New Delhi’s rule now that Guru lives on.

    4. The firstborn out of this marvellous wedlock could serve as a model of UPA goodwill who in due course of time can become India’s liberated Muslim face and be touted as a potential candidate for the UN Sec. Gen. post.

  64. Hang the b******. If I am wrong to see the other side of whatever friggin story they may have, so be it.

    Just hang the b******.

  65. A Wife’s Appeal for Justice

    This is his wife’s plea from 2004. Something to send a shiver down the spine.
    Let’s demand his clemency. Let’s demand complete abolition of capital punishment from India.

    @Sudeep
    Its the state’s failure if it cannot keep its jails and planes secure. Why should individuals pay the price for the state’s failure? You are saying that we are such a weak nation that we have to kill all criminals. Somebody above says that his killing will send the right signals to the enemies that we are a strong nation.
    So, are we killing him to prove that we are weak or to show the world that we are strong? or BOTH?

  66. >> Let’s demand his clemency. Let’s demand complete abolition of capital punishment from India. >>

    These are two different things. What you are really after is a total ban on capital punishment. Afzal’s case cannot be the one that sets a precedent for a ban. If at all you are after a total ban, we cannot start the ban now due to the cold blooded nature of this crime. So lets start with the next one – ok.

    >> Why should individuals pay the price for the state’s failure? >>

    Individuals do not pay for the states’ failure – they pay for their own criminal actions. Is that hard to understand ?

    >>..kill all criminals..>>

    No we dont kill people who get speeding tickets. The Indian Penal Code reserves the death sentence for the most dastardly crimes, necessarily involving cold blooded loss of life. Only the rarest of the rare cases get the death penalty. There are multiple courts of appeal where the defendent gets a chance to prove his innocence.

    >>So, are we killing him to prove that we are weak or to show the world that we are strong? or BOTH?>>

    No! we prove to the world that we are capable of bringing dastardly and murderous crimes to justice. “Justice” here is defined as the rule of the courts and the codified criminal laws. We prove to the world that you cant commit dastardly crimes and escape from justice by lobbying politicians.

  67. @Anoop: Except that unlike others nameless faceless terrorists in jail, Afzal is now an icon. He was also, along with “got-away-scot-free” Geelani one of the masterminds behind the Parliament attack—-as distinct from the “grunts” who do the dirty work. Which is why people may want him out—so that he can start another grassroots “freedom fighting” operation.

    Now thanks for the link from a Naxal ultra-left website….great source. As to the message, I felt nothing but sympathy for the poor lamb Afzal. Here’s this massive conspiracy against the poor man—the lawyer is communal, the judge is communal (the same people who acquited Geelani incidentally), Ram Mohan Roy is back from the dead….as a matter of fact, so innocent is the man that he went to Pakistan for terrorism training but just stayed around for 3 months without getting any….playing hookey from terror school. Yep I bought that one ! Incidentally as far as I remember that Naxal source also has scholarly articles which say that the Parliament attack was actually done by the BJP….that same old story: Americans brought down the towers, the Indians attacked their parliament while the poor Islamic terrorist were just trying to settle down to a peaceful life.

    Yeah right.

    @S.Pyne: We should throw in Arundhuti Roy for a steamy threesome.

  68. I’m sick of hearing about how these damn terrorists are freedom fighters and deserve to be treated as patriots, rather than criminals.

    Yes, India has had its share of freedom fighters,whom we revere, and many of them have been hanged for their actions – they died with their head held high and Vande Mataram on their lips. Neither they, nor their relatives, and certainly not the whole country, went to the British begging for their lives.

    If you are a freedom fighter, accept the consequences of fighting the state and its laws.

    For those of you who favour letting Afzal live, remember the fate of Prithviraj Chauhan, who chivalrously let Mohammad Ghori free several times. In the end Ghori lived to humiliate and cruelly kill Prithviraj after the Battle of Tarain.

    Also remember that these fanatics and their ISI masters consider Ghori a hero and role model.

    Enough. Hang the bastard, but as per the law. That’s the difference between them and us.

  69. @@ Saha
    Its the state’s failure if it cannot keep its jails and planes secure. Why should individuals pay the price for the state’s failure? You are saying that we are such a weak nation that we have to kill all criminals. Somebody above says that his killing will send the right signals to the enemies that we are a strong nation.
    So, are we killing him to prove that we are weak or to show the world that we are strong? or BOTH?

    Thats just you putting words into my mouth, I didnt say anything of the sort. You cant bring together arguments by two different people argueing from the same side of a debate, and try to create a contradiction where there is none.

    My argument is simple: If a person being alive threatens the lives of citizens, then the state has a duty to take away the life of that person. I have argued in the past about abolition of the death penalty for common criminals, but then they dont pose any danger, once imprisoned.

    And yes, we are a weak nation, as weak as any nation unable to prevent terrorist attacks on its own soil. By your logic, soldiers wont shoot back at inflitrating terrorists because “the Indian state is strong enough to…” Please ask yourself the question, what are the elements of this strength ? Institutions, Democracy, Respect for Human Rights, different Freedoms that we have and also the will to punish those who conspire to murder in Indian citizens.

    Also, take a look at the cover story at outlookindia.com where they have reproduced the SC judgement on Afzal. There is simply, a staggering amount of circumstantial evidence against this guy.

    He exchanged cell phone calls with the dead terrorists while the attacks were in progress/just before the attacks went through. (Cell phone records reveal this)

    He arranged for housing for the dead terrorists. (The landlord IDed him)

    The cell phones the terrorists were using were bought in his name. (Cell phone records again)

    He bought 800kg ammonium nitrate for the dead terrorists to make IEDs with (The shopkeeper IDed him). These were placed in the car that these fellows were travelling in, only a collision with the VPs cavalcade disarmed the detonating device.

    He was caught with a co-accused, with a laptop, forensic testing of which revealed that it was used to make the fake ID cards and the parking permit that was used to enter the parliament grounds.

    Not even people like Geelani are saying that he is innocent, so please dont expect us to buy mercy pleas from his wife.

  70. @greatbong:
    That letter was indeed written by his wife and appeared on Kashmir times, October 21 2004 issue. They dn’t have archives for that long back. I had to give the link on rev..dem.. (which is NOT a naxal site, look at the list of contributors) as that was where I first read about it. You can find it in numerous other websites. The woman has taken explicit names of STF members who tortured her husband and demanded money from them. Was there any action against those? are we too naive to believe that, our STF have not done anything illegal. With our combined efforts, Iam sure that the MSM will cover this letter pretty soon. I hope, then you will look at it differently. For the Kashmiri terrorists, Md. Afzal is not a hero. He was a police informant for a very long time. They are supporting him, as the injustice meted out to him is very clear. We should also support him.

    @others:
    Even if he has committed the crime, life imprisonment without parole is bad enough punishment for him. As I mentioned earlier as well, capital punishment is always regressive. Let’s not be a part in this ‘samuhik hatya’. After reading how Afzal’s case proceeded (which is acknowledged by everybody, even the Delhi HC accused the police of fabricating evidence, forging documents), it makes even more sense to argue on behalf of his mercy petition to be accepted. This is an oppurtunity for all of us to entirely eradicate capital punishment from our country. This is wrong to say that, “chalo isko maar daalte hai, aage ka dekha jayega”.

    All of us are angry with terrorism, and justifiably so. Let’s not kill the human inside us, to translate that anger.

  71. @Anoop Saha: Pal – I’m not in favour of capital punishment in general. But when a person turns against our country, then he should be ready to face the consequences.

    I’m not denying that the army, the police and the paramilitary have committed atrocities. Of course they have, and we should be ashamed of that too.

    But if you let a terrorist get away with murder, you give his ilk a thousand more opportunities to hit you. Especially as their world-view is the opposite of yours, and your very existance is the raison-d-etre for them to pick up the gun.

    Read my comment about Prithviraj Chauhan. Your ‘civilised’ approach has never worked during a war, even a proxy war.
    It’s ugly, its nasty, and it’s not something I’ll be proud of. But if you want to defeat terrorism, you have to stamp it out of existance, ruthlessly. Refer to the Naxal movement in Bengal or the Khalistan movement in Punjab.

    Civilized behaviour works only when everyone aound is civilised. Civil society from the time of Hammurabi, Chanakya and Machiavelli has survived because strong leaders realised that sometimes dirty work needs to be done, to keep society safe. A judge breaks the nib of a pen which writes a death sentence, but it is a bad judge who cannot do so when required to.

    You’re right. If I had my wishes, there would be no death sentence. But then there would be no terrorists, murderers and rapists either. I’m human enough to want this and if Afzal is killed in our collective name, I’ll not be proud either. But I will certainly support his hanging, unless you can show me conclusive evidence that he was not guilty. Which his friends, family and sympathisers have failed to do in court.

  72. Anoop Saha,

    This is not just another attack, nor is this just another terrorist. We are talking about a man who planned a spectacular attack – comparable to the World Trade Center in its consequences. If not for the brave men who laid down their lives – who knows what would have happened. Do you know how much damage a car full of Ammonium Nitrate can cause ? Do you remember that the full house was in session at that time ? The scale of attack planned, the cold bloodedness, the dastardliness, and the potential consequences have to be factored in. Can you imagine what would have happened if Vajpayee, Advani, and 40-50 MPs were shot ? What would happen next – would we silently hold bypolls for those 40-50 seats or go for an all out attack ? This is not some baby terrorist scheme gone wrong.

    Dont worry about all those sob stories, everyone comes up with them only when they are caught. Even if all those were true, it still does not in any way reduce the severity and scale of his devious plan. Every section of society has its share of stories of police brutality.

    There are some fools arguing that Afzal did not actually carry out the attacks, he was only the co-ordinator or mastermind. Yeah right, this is like saying Osama should be spared because he did not actually fly those planes into the towers. The masterminds just have to be given exemplary punishment.

    No, I will *NOT* support you and your friends in your mission. Maybe next time we can take up the case for a total ban on capital punishment.

  73. @ Anoop Saha: Even if he has committed the crime, life imprisonment without parole is bad enough punishment for him. As I mentioned earlier as well, capital punishment is always regressive.
    You don’t understand the issue here, do you? What if we keep him in jail and tomorrow his supporters hijack a plane and demand for his release? Will those terrorists show mercy upon those innocent people then?
    So it is always better to execute this guy. Yes, I’d like to participate in the ‘Samuhik Hatya’ as you call it, for I’ll know that I have made the lives of many innocent citizens safer even if by a tiny little bit.

    @Dipesh: Same answer to you… The execution is exemplary, but more than that it will prevent a Kandahar kind of incident regarding Afzal. Na rahega baans, na bajegi baasuri.
    But yes, it will probably be a ‘wrong political move’.

  74. Roy (in a jailor’s jacket with a whip and khadi thong on, lashing her man while cursing the MNCs) thrown in for a threesome – Marhabba!!!

    Btw, does that make MFF or MMF? Not that it matters much, but you see, the equation gets even fuzzier (ie steamier) with Ritu-da/di as director.

  75. @S.Pyne: While we are at it, why not throw in the mallu poetess Kamala Suraiyya (as she was for some time) for a four-some. Then you might get some erotic poetry out of it – which can be used by Rituporno in the movie. Anyway, thanks for the light touch.

  76. Anop Saha: Seems like you dont want Afzal to be hanged. So, do you think we should also ask our police, armed forces to stop protecting the country because anyways if our forces or the soldiers catch anyone of those terrorist, we will let them go free and not punish them for killing so many innocent lives, orphaning kids,widowing women. Obiviously, thier grief means nothing to you.I wonder why you care so much for his family.It’s not like his family did not know what he was doing, what if he got killed in action, they would be still doomed, son without a father etc etc.. Because we have people like you and ofcourse Arundhati Roy that our country is weak. Terrorist is a terrorist, he should be killed, there should no debate about it. He is not like a murderer or rapist. His whole aim in life is to kill people, take innocent lives and that is why he lives. Why would you want to save such a life!!!

  77. I think hanging Afzal is going to create an uproar in Kashmir- which we are all fearing and he is so ready to become the Martyr, so why isn’t the President doing what Indians are so good at – delay the hanging for a few days, then again delay it for another few days, and then again and again. Let Afzal go through the cycle of dying and living everyday, until after few iterations, he will start wanting to live – hang him then. MU_HA HA HA AH.!!!!

  78. @Amit: Ha Ha! That’s probably what the terrorists and their ISI masters want, some time to let them highjack a plane or kidnap a VIP family member, hold the nation to ransom and set Afzal free.

    No Afzal doesn’t mean a thing to the terrorists – he’s just cannon fodder to them. But forcing India to let him go will be a great victory to their violent philosophy.

  79. @Sayon : Yes probably you are true – but what I said was delay this for few days… like hindi films – while he is standing on the gallows, someone comes rushing and with the news that his hanging has been delayed – and he will be set free. After few days he will learn that the decision was a mistake …. I want to see him breaking down emotionally and plead for life. And that image should be broadcasted to the kashmiris. Right now it looks as if he has accepted that he has to die, and there is no fun killing a dead man.

    Afzal means nothing to the terrorist masterminds. But I am afraid that the issue is so publicized that hanging him now just gives the masterminds an excuse to motivate more kashmiris in terrorist activities. Probably a little delay will cool the issue. But the risk of highjack and ransom has always been there.

  80. EXcellent post !
    was shocked to see the word “mercy “used in the context of this case in the news .The Nuns anecdote was so apt!

  81. Its high time that we should give freedom to Kashmiris. Wheather they go with Pakistan or want to remain Independent is their choice.

    But before India give freedom to Kasmiris, there should be one strict condition that all the 12 crore of Muslim living in different parts of india should also shift to kashmir.

    I am sure every Indian would like to see that

  82. @Anonymous: No, sir, thank you. I’d like to keep the Muslims who choose to be Indians, like a large number of my friends and acquaintances – those who join me in celebrating Durga Puja and Ganesh Chaturthi with the same fervour with which they celebrate Id, and criticise Pakistan with the same anger as I do.

    I’d hate to let go of Abdul Kalam, Shabana Azmi, Javed Akhtar, Amir Khan, Shah Rukh Khan, Mohd. Kaif, Irfan Pathan, M J Akbar, and many others who are just as proud to be Indian as you and me. They are among the many Indians who make us proud to be Indian.

    What about the gallant Muslim soldiers who fought and died for India against Pakistan. I forget the name, but one of them won a PVC for holding back the Pakistan army and preventing Srinagar being over run in 1947.

    Why tar all Muslims with the same brush as the faithless terrorist sympathisers?

    If we send all Muslims to Kashmir or Pakistan, its a victory of the theory that Muslims need a seperate country, and a defeat of the secular theory of India.

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  84. And what the efffffff was Arundhati Roy doing there protesting against his hanging???? The biiaaatch crawls out of the woodwork everytime there is a hint of monsoons – someone pls throw a torn chappal at her for me.

    Afzal should be let go only if he promises to get Arundhati Roy (and then tried and hung for killing her, hehe)

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  86. @Anonymous: I have never come across a more stupid comment on this blog than the one you made. I totally agree with Sayon about muslim Indians. And man, show me a person more Indian than late Bismillah Khan, i mean the way Ustad Ji would talk of benaras, it’s ghats and the wrestling akhada…every word, every description dripping of the love he had for the place he was born and spent his lifetime in.

    It makes me shiver to think about the kind of dinner table conversation you have at your place and what kids must be learning from your preachings. Get a life, dude.

  87. GB,

    I hope this govt grants clemency to Afzal Guru. Then sometime towards the end of this govt’s term, I hope there is a plane hijacking where they kill one guy (hope its not me or my near and dear ones) and then get Afzal Guru in exchange for the rest of the passengers. And when its election time, the angst of the voting public will bring down this govt!

    That is the only good thing I can see coming from this govt’s attitude!

    Now how’s that for some evil daydreaming!!?

  88. Hello All,

    I have read all the above articles and am agrreing with almost all of you excepting some things.
    First of all the word kashmiri symbolises both kashmiri hindus and muslims.
    The hindus support india but they are only 10% of the population.
    The real people involved in terrorist activities are Kashmiri muslims.
    Why i am writing this here is because the word kashmiri is used in general.
    I am a kashmiri hindu and hope my sentiments are taken with proper consideration.
    Also giving kashmir to pakistan is no solution to the probem.
    Then india will have to part with the entire north east.
    Also this will compromise the principle on which our great nation was formed and legitimise pakistans creation.
    As far as afzal is concerned i guess he shoud be tortured to death though i know this is not human but such sect of people dont come under the class of humans.
    Also i would like to bring to your notice once again that all kashmiri Pandits(Hindus)
    are supporters of the indian union.
    Jai Hind.

  89. @Ali – I wish things were as clear as we would like to be. The same damn terrorists (as defined by you and me) would be officially accepted freedom fighters if Kashmir were to become independent.

    Unfortunately, throughout history, the only criterion which determines what one is perceived to be is, simply, who is the winner.

    So in order to get Afzal recognised as a bloody terrorist, is to (a) hang him, (b) Ensure that Kashmir remains a part of India forever.

    And just to make it difficult for a lot of fellow readers of this blog, I’ll ask fellow Indians to learn to distinguish between Muslim Indians and terrorists, so that we can legitimately claim victory for the idea of India over the narrow sectarian idea of Pakistan.

  90. I fail to understand in the first place… why the kashmiris want freedom, what is the problem they have which millions of Indian Muslims living happily in India donot have. I may point out that some of the most successful Muslims in the world are from India (and not the hardcode fundamentalist nations).

    – And if they are freedom fighters then why not raise the issue democratically – India is perhaps the last nation in the world where democratic voices are supressed using force. (Otherwise some party like CPI would withdraw support and the government will fall).

    – And lastly, what makes them (Kashimiri freedom fighters) feel that Pakistan can help them. In the last 15 yrs their own lives have been terrible due to this movement.

  91. @Amit: Yes, that is the core of the problem. Unfortunately, the majority of Kashmiri seperatists in the valley have a ‘frog-in-a-well’ attitude, and have never realised that their plight in Pakistan would be much worse than in India, despite the rulers being fellow Muslims.

    As an aside, have you noticed the attitude of the average Arab towards Pakistanis (anywhere, from Dubai and Kuwait to Libya). They call Pakistanis ‘converts’ and look down on them. In Libya, Indians are treated better than Pakistanis.

    But Pakistanis (and Kashmiris) dream of a world of islamic brotherhood!

    Of course, to an extent India is to blame quite a bit – with our armtwisting the Maharaja of Kashmir to join India, or our manipulation of elections to overthrow Sheikh Abdullah, or army brutality during counter terrorism activities. Don’t expect Kashmiris to love us for that.

    Unfortunately, it takes a lot of maturity and knowledge of the world to realise that their lot will be worse in Pakistan

  92. I read almost all the comments, and i think none of them points out that Afzal is going to be hanged not for murder or something, he is getting hanged for “waging war against state”…

    This is a reason good enough for me…

    If you donot agree, then probably, you’d probably say that in all our wars we shuldn’t kill any of our enemies (… after all we need to differentiate ourselves from them)
    Let the barbarians take kargil, kashmir, anything… we are superior beings, retaliating would make us fall to same level as theirs…
    and of course, all this from your armchair, as long as none of your own family and friends are getting killed in their gunfire…

    secondly, there are lots of comments by anonymous people about attrocities by army and all that…
    dude, let me tell you one thing, if there is a war, there are bound to be casualities and some of them would be innocent…
    if anything, your terrorist friends, for whom you find so much of unwarranted sympathy, have a much worse record…

    luckily for us, we have a very vibrant democracy, and if your terrorist friends have so much of public sympathy and support, why don’t they contest elections. why don’t they come in the state assembly in a wholesome majority and maybe pass a resolution seeking independence for kashmir. in such a case india won’t have any option but to respect the opinion of people…
    but no, thats not possible. your terrorists and their sympathisers hurriat conference always call for boycott right…
    no wonder because a defeat here would erode their credibility and expose them… something they cannot afford..

  93. @Gaurav: Flashback to the Red Fort Trial of the INA soldiers. The defence successfully argued that the defendants were waging war against the state, and this was their right, with many historical precedents. The defendants were acquitted.

    Afzal has been convicted of a crime and sentenced to death. As per law. Enough! Why get into any other arguments? There are enough people on this post, from Arnab downwards, who accept your final conclusion – the man must die.

    Why worry how the cat is skinned?

  94. @Sayon:
    Indian muslims wholeheartedly support the hanging of Mohammed Afzal. I really find it hard to understand the protests by Kashmiris on this issue but most muslims I have spoken to agree with me. But while we’re at it, lets clarify a few points or two:
    Global Muslim population exceeds 1.35 billion. Fanatic idiots calling themselves muslims carrying bombs around and making tall claims cannot possibly exceed 0.5% . Hence hatred if any must be directed at this 0.5% instead of the rest of the more thab a billion.
    All that moderate muslims of today are asking for is acceptance and trust. Given that, I think the situation can be worked on much better and much faster.

  95. @sayon
    was late to the party dude… neways point taken…
    couple of things though….

    number one, the times and issues then were totally different and not exactly applicable on this case (even the war waged by them was not exactly the same)
    and number two, since when did we start following/citing british precedents

  96. @Ali: I agree with you on this. No qualifications or preconditions.

    My point on Muslim Indians was aimed at fellow commentators who use the logic that because terrorists who are bothering India are Muslims, therefore all Muslims are terrorists/ terrorist sympathisers. Which so-called ‘pseudo-secularists’ like me are not willing to accept.

    @Gaurav: Situations are never the same – but legal precedents, even from other countries, are often used in arguments by lawyers, trying to work out the applicability in more-or-less similar cases.
    Secondly, dude, our legal system is a legacy of the British legal system, and more than half our laws today are pre-Independence. The Drugs and Cosmetics Act was passed in 1940, the Dangerous Drugs Act in 1930, and so on. The law prohibiting photography at airports and from balloons was passed in the late 19th Century (correct me if I’m wrong). Even today barristers practice law in India.

    Anyway, you and I may have issues with comparing the INA heroes with Kashmiri terrorists. But it’s a matter of viewpoint – and while we may not agree, we should be aware of how the other side views an issue.

  97. Well, I looked it up a bit…. this is what I understand…
    first of all, the laws may be old but the supreme court of our land is not bound by precedents set by any british courts(in fact, its not even bound by its own precedents). And only in absence of any precedents set by our SC would the judgements of pre-independence british “Privy council” be binding on our lower courts. decisions of all other foreign courts are only of persuasive value….
    secondly, INA trial in red fort was actually a martial trial(you can probably estimate its fairness), and the three accused were pardoned by CiC keeping in mind the prevailing conditions and mutinies in british ranks… it was not exactly a goodwill decision

    and finally, talking of viewpoints, there is a certain difference between freedom fighters and terrorists which every sane mind can make out. as far as we know, none of our freedom fighters has ever been accused of blowing bombs in crowded market places or committing massacares, not even by the brits.

  98. @Gaurav: You are right. The Supreme court is not bound by precendent – agreed, but lawyers are permitted to argue on the basis of precedents, including in other countries, to establish what is natural justice. The honourable judge in his wisdom, decides what is, in his opinion, right.

    Yes, the INA men were pardoned by the military court, but keeping in mind the arguments from the defence team. Yes, in our (Gaurav, this includes ME!) opinion, the INA men were heroes and the Kashmiri terrorists are … well, terrorists. Go back in time and ask a British soldier, or ask a Kashmiri seperatist, and the answer may well differ.

    I’m not asking you to change your mind. I even share your viewpoint. But just try to remember that there are other viewpoints, however delusional they may seem to us. If, god forbid, they win, it may be their viewpoint which will be enshrined in history.

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  100. Some very interesting background information from the horse’s mouth …. on the Kandahar Hijacking as well as the attempt to deport a Jihadi (Dawood Ibrahim) from “The Land of the Pure”.

    http://us.rediff.com/news/2008/mar/20us.htm

    US showed lack of interest in Dawood’s deportation: Advani

    The United States showed “lack of enthusiasm” in getting underworld don Dawood Ibrahim deported to India from Pakistan despite making some initial efforts, says senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Lal Kishenchand Advani.

    Advani, in his memoir My Country My Life, notes with deep disappointment America’s reticence in pressing Pakistan to hand over Dawood, wanted in connection with 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, to India.

    The former deputy prime minister writes in detail his efforts to get Dawood and his meetings with the then US secretary of state Colin Powell and national security advisor Condoleezza Rice in this regard.

    He notes that Indian officials handed over a copy of the list of top 20 most-wanted terrorists taken refuge in Pakistan to their US counterparts during his visit to that country in January 2002, a month after the Parliament attack.

    Advani recollects that within 10 days of his meeting with Powell, he came on a whirlwind tour of India and Pakistan in a bid to lower tension and gave “clearer indication” that the Bush administration had decided to ask then president Pervez Musharraf [Images] to combat terrorism.

    “He (Powell) told his Indian interlocutors that Pakistan would hand over Dawood Ibrahim to India ‘with some strings attached’ and also that Musharraf needed 15 to 20 days more for doing so,” he writes.

    However, Advani says he “started facing hurdles” soon and recollecting it now “is not a very happy experience.”

    “When Powell came to India, I was unpleasantly surprised to know that I was not among the Indian officials meeting him. The PMO’s explanation, from what I gathered, was that since I had met the US secretary of state only 10 days earlier in Washington, there was no need for me to meet him again,” he says.

    “It bewildered me. My interest in meeting Powell was, specifically, to find out about the Bush administration’s follow-up on the Indian demand for the extradition of Ibrahim and others in the list submitted to Pakistan,” Advani says.

    In the months that followed, he notes, there was no Pakistani action on the Indian demand on Ibrahim and “there was only fibbing and foot-dragging. In my interactions with visiting Americans, I began to see, strangely, a certain lack of enthusiasm. ‘We do not have the clout to compel Pakistan to act on this issue,’ they started saying,” he writes.

    “I suspected, not without basis, that somebody in the bureaucratic system was trying, in Indian’s dialogue with Americans, to de-emphasise or derail the issue of getting Ibrahim and other Indian terrorists back from Pakistan,” Advani notes.

    He says his “deep disappointments” as home minister was that India was “denied a major success in its war against Pakistan-supported terrorism by way of bureaucratic non- cooperation “that I have not been able to fully fathom.”

    Another disappointment, Advani says, came when America did not help to block the hijacked Indian Airlines flight at the Dubai airport en-route to Kandahar despite him seeking assistance from then US ambassador to India Robert Blackwill.

    “I felt that the Americans, with their considerable military presence and diplomatic influence in the Gulf region, could have taken some effective proactive steps to put the hijacked plane out of action, so that Indian commandos could be sent there to rescue the hostages. I was deeply disappointed that they did not even try,” the leader of the opposition recollects.

    A few days after the crisis had ended, Advani says he made his displeasure known to Blackwill during a meeting.

    “This is not what we understand by Indo-US cooperation in fighting terrorism,” I told him. “That experience reinforced my belief that India has to fight its war on terror essentially on its own,” he notes.

    On the National Democratic Alliance government’s decision to free three terrorists to end the hijacking crisis, he says, “I was initially not in favour of exchanging the terrorists with hostages. However, the situation that our government was faced with was truly extraordinary.”

    “The fact that the hijackers had taken the plane to Kandahar had rendered the situation much more complex and difficult,” he says.

    The “most unfortunate” part of the entire episode, he said was that pressure was being mounted on the government to “somehow” save the lives of the hostages in the form of hysterical demonstrations by relatives of the hostages outside prime minister’s residence.

    “I regret to say that these were at least partly instigated by the BJP’s political adversaries,” he said and blamed some television channels for hyping up these protests with round-the-clock publicity.

    “With mounting pressure from relatives on one hand, and the possibility of hijackers taking recourse to some desperate action on the other, the government most reluctantly took the option of minimising the losses,” he says.

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  102. As part of the negotiations with the terrorists (both the gun-wielding Pakistanis in Mumbai, & the Pakistani establishment discussing Sarabjit’s release), are we sure that Afzal won’t end up being pardoned and released?

  103. Kill this anti national bastard right now and for good measure also kill his entire family (and human rights activists be damned). This will perhaps send a strong msg to all terrorists and potential traitors.

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