Revolutionary Writers’ Association leader Varavara Rao on Saturday condemned the execution of Jaish-e-Mohammad terrorist Afzal Guru, the brain behind the attack on Parliament.
“It was gruesome that Afzal Guru was hanged to death. The Congress government is toeing the line of the Sangh Parivar by hanging Afzal Guru in violation of human rights,” Rao said while addressing a meeting of the Telangana Intellectuals Forum here on Saturday.
As various sections of people in Telangana _ SCs, STs and Muslims _ are fighting for statehood for their region, Afzal Guru too fought for the aspirations of the people of Kashmir for self-rule, he said. While the people of Telangana wanted a separate state within the Indian union, the people of Kashmir wanted self-rule outside of India, he explained.
Later, some human rights activists under the leadership of Vara Vara Rao staged a demonstration at the Ambedkar statue near Tank Bund in protest against the hanging of Afzal Guru. When Rao was addressing the gathering, two Bajrang Dal activists arrived and tried to disrupt the meeting. Police intervened and took the two activists, along with Varavara Rao and other human rights activists into custody, and shifted them to the Nampally police station.
Varavara Rao told Express later that the death penalty had no place in a democratic country like India. He alleged that the BJP and Congress were adopting the politics of Hindutva to appease different sections of people with an eye on votes.
The Human Rights Forum also strongly condemned the execution of Afzal Guru, saying, “The execution is brazen injustice and inhuman. It is a dark day for our democracy.”
In a press release, HRF president S Jeevan Kumar and general secretary V S Krishna said the HRF was in principle opposed to capital punishment in all cases without exception. “The death penalty has no deterrent effect and is the ultimate denial of human rights. It is nothing but a premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state and it violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” the duo said.
They said Afzal Guru’s alleged involvement in the planning of the attack on Parliament in no way met the “rarest of rare” criteria for which the death sentence is allowed in Indian law.
“Unfortunately, Afzal’s case was enmeshed in hate politics from the moment of his arrest. The trial was based on faulty investigation, circumstantial evidence and role of the police was suspicious. Moreover, Guru did not have adequate legal representation during his trial” they said and demanded the government announce a moratorium on executions. The reason why capital punishment must be abolished, they reasoned, is that in case a judgement is erroneous, the mistake cannot be reversed.