Statement of Lok Raj Sangathan, Feb 14, 2013
Afzal Guru was hanged on 9th February 2013 in secrecy, even before his immediate kin were informed. His mercy petition was rejected by the President even when the trial records and the lengthy documentation put together over the years by lawyers and civil rights activists revealed that his guilt was never established beyond reasonable doubt. Lok Raj Sangathan expresses its strong condemnation of this politically motivated act that is aimed at creating confusion and divisions among the people.
Afzal Guru went through the trial legally unrepresented from the time of his arrest, questioning the impartiality of the judicial system. Now he has now been removed from the scene without any vital questions about the Parliament attack being answered: Was the attack on Parliament in December 2001 the handiwork of a few misguided individuals or an act of organised forces? Who benefited from the attack? Why were the real handlers of the attack never brought to trial?
The fact of the matter is that Afzal Guru, a ‘surrendered militant’ in Kashmir, was used as a pawn in a the murky events surrounding the attack on the Indian Parliament. Even today there are no answers to these vital questions. Others like Geelani who were also implicated were let off later since the evidence against them were shoddy and would have put the accusers in the dock. Afzal was tortured and forced to make confessions and contradictory statements that even the courts recognized were weak and inadmissible as evidence. But these “confessions” were used by the media and the political parties of the ruling establishment to fabricate a story that led the people away from the real truth and kept the focus on an individual.
The barrage of propaganda during the last 11 years after the attack and during the seven years when Afzal was in the death row have only served to stoke communal passions further. They fed fuel to the US-led “war against terrorism” machinery. They added grist to the mill of elements who thrived on creating hysteria against minority communities, the people of Kashmir and Pakistan as the real danger to India’s problems. The lies and slanders, accusations and counter-accusations between the big political formations led by the Congress and BJP kept pressure on the people of Kashmir and Muslim minorities to give up asserting their rights. They gave a convenient handle to the Indian government to divert the attention of people from pressing problems such as price hikes, unemployment and the anti-people economic reforms. The distrust built between people belonging to various communities and regions served the political parties of the ruling establishment, their electoral machines, to carve out vote banks on the basis of fear, distrust and intrigue.
The entire process of investigation and trial, the absence of water-tight evidence, the complete obfuscation of the role of handlers, the veil of secrecy over the hanging of Afzal Guru – all these have contributed to the popular perception that there will be no smoke without fire.
The hanging of Afzal Guru has shattered the faith that many seekers of truth had in the fundamental rights enshrined in the Constitution and in the objectivity and impartiality of the judicial system and the security apparatus. The incident has reiterated once again that our Constitution does not guarantee fundamental rights of Indian citizens, our judiciary is not impartial and the security forces work at the behest of the ruling establishment which wanted to use the attack on parliament for its own self-serving political interests.
The hanging of Afzal Guru is being touted as a “strong message” by the mouthpieces of the ruling combine. Those who question the shady nature of this act are being branded as unpatriotic. But it is not clear to whom this “strong message” is directed at. Is it directed at the people of Kashmir who have been fighting for their national and political rights? Is it directed against minority communities for daring to raise their voice demanding a guarantee for their life and livelihood? Or is it directed against the entire people of India who are raising their voices against price rise, unemployment, economic reforms, corruption and violence against women?
Lok Raj Sangathan expresses its strong condemnation of the callous and cowardly manner in which Afzal Guru was hanged and the political wheeling and dealing to cover up the real handlers behind this crime. It enjoins on the people to reject this “strong message” of those in power and continue to build their political unity, irrespective of religious and other differences, and strengthen their organizations of struggle.