Friday, 15 February 2013

Death Of Justice

Hanged for satisfying the collective conscience of the society based on purely circumstantial evidence and deprived of one last meet with his family, could this be termed as justice? No!!!
In the death of Afzal Guru lies the death of justice, a statement justified by the stiff resentment from every nook and corner of the Kashmir valley, against the govt’s decision to execute Afzal Guru. Justice, a word that our judiciary system often boasts of and stresses that each and every person who is tried upon should get a fair chance to defend himself, has once again come under the scanner, following the execution of Afzal Guru. Even though the evidence against him stood purely circumstantial, still then the Supreme Court’s verdict to award him with capital punishment in view of satisfying the collective conscience of the society, raises a serious question as to what for the law is, when such things need to be taken into consideration? A person against whom there is no direct evidence, but is tried upon and executed, only to meet the demands of the society, is a clear indication that it was not a law based execution. Not only this but depriving him of one last chance to meet his family members is an another question mark on the nation which considers itself to be democratic and liberalised, in addition to strongly emphasizing the need to give respect to basic human rights, that are equal for all and ought to be valued. Under the law, when Afzal Guru’s wife had every right to meet him before execution, then why has not that specific right kept in consideration and honoured? What was the point to intimate the family members about his death sentence through speed post, which reached almost sixty hours later than he was executed, and thus were kept in dark so that they do not seek for the judicial review of the rejection of the mercy petition? Despite the fact that he was neither among the ones who stormed parliament house nor was he among those who opened fire on security personnel (that was the BJP Rajya Sabha MP, Chandan Mitra, in The Pioneer, October 7th 2006), but he was framed and executed, really raises one’s concern towards this execution. It brings forth the grim situation, that on one hand has created a sense of alienation among the youth of valley against the govt and on the other hand, the sense of injustice that still prevails in the judiciary system, with no hope for a better future ahead. As rightly pointed by the CM, Omer Abdullah, this execution could have long term impacts on the coming generations which could further weaken the relations between the people and the govt.
The grief of Kashmiri people has been sealed under stringent curfew, which has the power to erupt like a volcano and destroy like anything. The people are furious over the execution of Afzal Guru and demonstrate their anger by taking to streets against this inhuman and highly condemnable decision. Their emotions are showing no signs of dying down. Questions like, how can you hang man without even proving his direct link with the parliament attack while relying only on the circumstantial evidence to satisfy the collective conscience and why were the family members not made aware about his execution are being raised again and again. As per Guru’s words: would you like to hang a man without listening to what he has gone through his life and without giving him a fair trial, make everyone shed their tears in his remembrance while making a firm belief that he was a scapegoat and nothing else. What more injustice could have been for him, when the Delhi high court appointed junior lawyer did not visit him in the jail. Neither did he summon any witnesses in Afzal’s defence, nor did he cross examine the prosecution witnesses. Even though it was clear that the lawyer appointed seemed to be in no mood of saving him, but still then the judge expressed his inability to do anything in that situation. Despite Afzal’s wish to have a lawyer of his own choice, no attention was paid to it and in turn, he was awarded with death sentence. How bizarre! Filing a petition against this judgement in the Supreme Court also bore no fruits for Afzal Guru which also uphold the death sentence while admitting that despite the scant evidences against Afzal, the maximum punishment had to be given to Afzal to `satisfy the collective conscience of the nation’. Thereby, the Supreme Court clearly went as per the demand of the nation while the deficiency of direct evidence that could have been the major drawback in this case was completely ruled out. If the executions to be made are based on such considerations, then what is the need to have law at our place? Though, the Afzal Guru’s involvement in 13th December 2001 is speculative, and the evidence in Afzal’s case is purely circumstantial, a question that often haunts one is that whether the Afzal’s case was truly among the ones that fall in the rarest of rare categories? Was the justice done in spirit of what it should have been like?
Some relevant questions that need to be answered are: Who crafted the collective conscience of people on parliament attack? Few news channels and newspapers cannot reflect the opinion of the entire nation, but that hardly seemed to make any difference in this case. Sharing the beliefs of several influential people and presenting it as the national conscience, itself validates its shortcoming that was never paid attention to. Why is this collective conscience requited only when it comes to Kashmir? Now that the collective conscience of the nation is satisfied, what about that of Kashmiri’s who still believe that he was not given a fair trial? Who is going to satisfy their conscience and how? The agony does not end here but going with a tough decision, the govt buried his body inside the jail premises, thereby depriving the family from yet another human right i.e. the last time to see him. What good governance can be expected from such a govt, that itself does not know the real means of valuing and respecting human rights?
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