The execution of Mohammad Afzal Guru and the time and manner in which it has been carried out have thrown up several questions that are uncomfortable to the ruling classes of our country. Afzal Guru was condemned to death to satisfy “the collective conscience of the society” (sic). The fact that such a verdict came, and that a “hush-hush” execution was carried out by the UPA government even as the victims of a number of communal pogroms including Gujarat 2002 have been left in the lurk by the justice system at a time when even sections of the ruling classes have had to concede to the involvement of “saffron terror” groups in such incidents (as indicated by the recent statement by the Union Home Minister), raises a question mark over the nature of our legal process as well. Most condemnably, the government chose to inform Guru’s family about the execution through speed post, and refused to hand over his dead body to them.
The hanging has made explicit the political agenda of the Congress to appease a section of hawkish public opinion championed until now by the RSS-led Sangh Parivar. The UPA is clearly hoping to steal the BJP’s “thunder” by advancing right-wing jingoism in national politics through the execution of Afzal Guru.To add insult to injury, the Congress has chosen to muzzle all shades of opinion which have refused to buy the ruling class version of the whole episode. Iftikhar Gilani (Assistant Editor of English daily DNA) and his family were detained for his “crime” of being the son-in-law of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, while the Delhi University lecturer SAR Geelani, who was acquitted by the Supreme Court in the Parliament attack case, was detained for talking with the media!
Afzal Guru’s execution has only served to alienate large sections of Kashmiri people, and has given a fillip to the right-wing – there were macabre celebrations of the hanging and a massive attack on dissenting voices. The people who were protesting against the execution were manhandled and abused by right-wing mobs. On Saturday, members of the Bajrang Dal attacked the youth protesting against the hanging of Afzal Guru at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. Students from JNU, Delhi University and Jamia Millia Islamia were among those who had to bear the brunt of such attacks.
Inside the JNU campus too, the Sanghi lumpens did not miss a chance to “celebrate” the execution. Goons of the ABVP, which has a long, shameful history of lumpenism involving attacks against students and teachers belonging to minority communities, have branded the students who were protesting against the execution as “anti-national”. SFI condemns the UPA-II’s heinous ploy of using the death penalty to further narrow political goals instead of bringing to book the real culprits of the attack on the Indian Parliament. We appeal to all democratic sections of society to unite against the strategy of the Congress to appease the communal, fascistic elements of the right-wing, and against the reprehensible act of curbing and brute silencing of the voices of dissent.