Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday slammed the execution of Afzal Guru and said this would reinforce a sense of alienation and injustice among generations of youth in the Valley.
When asked about the perception in the valley that Afzal didn’t get a fair trial, he said: “I think that there are enough voices in the rest of the country also who believe that the judicial process in this matter was flawed.The judgment of the Supreme Court has words that are difficult to explain… The judgment itself says that there is strong circumstantial evidence.I have never known circumstantial evidence to be a basis of death sentence.
” Omar also said it was a “tragedy” that Guru was not allowed to meet his family before he was hanged and not allowed a “final farewell”.He said there were many questions that needed to be answered.
Omar observed that the long-term implications of the hanging of Guru were “far more worrying” as they were related to the new generation of youth in Kashmir “who may not have identified with Maqbool Bhatt but will identify with Afzal Guru.” Bhat was hanged in 1984 for murder of Indian diplomat Ravindra Mhatre in the UK. “Whether you like it or not, the execution of Afzal Guru has reinforced that point that there is no justice for them and that to my mind is far more disturbing and worrying than the short-term implications for security front. How we would be able to correct or address that sense of injustice and alienation is a question I do not have answers,” he added.
Asked about the official position of the ruling National Conference on the h a n g i n g , O m a r said,”Obviously we would have it rather had not happened.
” Expressing himself against death penalty because “I have no bloodlust”. Omar said as long as the capital punishment exists on the statute there should be no “pick and choose”.
Asked whether the UPA Government went for selective execution of death row convicts by hanging Guru, Omar said it will have to be proved to Kashmiris and to the world that the execution of Afzal Guru is not a “selective” one.
“There are others on death who are also implicated in attacks on democracy. If Chief Minister of a state not a symbol of democracy? Is a former Prime Minister not a symbol of democracy? Of course, he is,” he said referring to the death row convicts in the cases of assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh.
On Guru’s family not allowed to meet him, Omar said, “I cannot reconcile myself to the fact that his (Afzal) family was not allowed to see him before he was killed or executed. That to my mind, on a human level, is the biggest tragedy of this execution. ” He also questioned the rationale of informing Afzal’s family through post saying the reliability of the medium itself was questionable.