India Uncut

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

What's the deal with Mohammad Afzal?

I don't get it. The dude's been found guilty of being a perpetrator of the terrorist attack on India's parliament in 2001, and his death sentence was upheld by no less than the Supreme Court. You'd think that was fair enough for a terrorist act that took nine lives and could have taken many more. But protests have broken out in Kashmir, political parties have protested the execution (as has a 'woman's outfit'), and Farooq Abdullah, who once angled for the job of India's president, is appealing to the president to pardon Afzal.

Nowhere in these reports is Afzal's guilt questioned. Instead, reasons trotted out include "the people of Jammu and Kashmir [getting] further alienated" if Afzal is executed -- as if public sentiment should play a role in the justice system -- and, most bizarrely, the execution having "an adverse impact on the ongoing peace process between India and Pakistan." I don't see why the peace process should be affected if Pakistan had, as it claims, no hand in the attacks. If Afzal isn't their man, they shouldn't be bothered, no?

If a guy is guilty of a crime, surely regional and religious and ethnic and political issues should not be a factor at all in his punishment. And the thing to note here is that most of the people protesting Afzal's death sentence aren't questioning larger issues like capital punishment: they simply want this feller to be pardoned. Bizarro.

Do have a look at posts on this subject by Great Bong, Confused and Nitin Pai.
amit varma, 1:10 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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