(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)
February 17, 2013
On The Hanging of Afzal Guru
AFTER the hanging of Mohd. Afzal Guru in the parliament attack case many questions have surfaced. The press conference addressed by the home minister, Sushil Kumar Shinde has reinforced these questions. He has admitted that Afzal Guru was speedily executed to avoid any appeal to the court after the rejection of his mercy petition.
There has been a prolonged legal and judicial process in the case. Afzal Guru was sentenced to death in December 2002 and the case went in appeal to the High Court and the Supreme Court. After the Supreme Court upheld the death penalty in August 2005, a mercy petition by his wife was sent to the president in October 2006. The president rejected the petition on February 3, 2013.
The manner in which the death sentence was executed has come in for valid criticism. The rejection of the mercy petition was not informed to the convict and the family and time given for approaching the Courts on this issue. The family of Afzal Guru was not given the opportunity to meet him for the last time. That a letter by registered and speed post was sent to the family informing them about the rejection of the mercy petition and the date of execution makes this act of commission all the more glaring and callous.
The execution of
the sentence at this
time has also raised a more important issue. There are other
persons who have
been sentenced to death for terrorist related offences. In
the case of
Devenderpal Singh Bhullar, his mercy petition was rejected.
Another person Balwant
Singh Rajoana is facing death sentence in the case of the
assassination of the
then chief minister of
Unlike in these
cases, the rejection
of the mercy petition of Afzal Guru was followed by his
instant hanging. In all
these cases, political considerations have determined the
implementation of the
judicial verdicts. In Tamilnadu, the state assembly has
passed a resolution
asking for the commutation of the death sentence of the
three persons. The
Akali Dal led government of Punjab has opposed the execution
of the death
sentence in the
The people of
The case for the abolition of the death penalty is a strong one and highly relevant. The CPI(M) is presently engaged in a discussion to review its position on the matter.
In the meantime, the shrill jingoism and triumphalism displayed by the BJP and the corporate media has to be strongly deplored. For the BJP, the fight against terrorism has become a partisan political platform to serve their narrow political interests.
(February 13, 2013)