October 4, 2006

Are We Being Hasty- Afzal Affair

Filed under: India n Me,opinions — Kaveeta Oberoi Kaul @ 4:40 pm

Terrorism has brought in its wake a retributive cry for blood, of a suspected terrorist, as in the case of Afzal. What is in urgent need of appraisal is an honest, sincere, foolproof, investigation into irrefutable evidence of his guilt. After all we are dealing with the gallows scope for rectifying wrongs once committed. Are we speciously mitigating the the horrors of violence with an equally unjust indictment? With as much finality?

A recommended read for an in- depth perspective.

Somehow, the acquittal of Geelani on the basis of ‘fabricated and concocted evidence’ has led to the nagging doubt/suspicion of the culpability of Afzal. There is no further evidence provided nor a change of tactics or evidences. Then where is the foundation of unshakable veracity of police claims? If they faltered earlier, then how can their findings be considered Gospel now? In their hurry to shut the case and simultaneously applaud themselves at the accomplishment of having solved a grave crime are the Police adhering to judicial procedures? Are the real culprits roaming scott free?

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>Keeping to the subcategory that Noam Chomsky calls “doctrinally acceptable” – their terror against us, there is no doubt that the problem of terrorism is serious and complex. As such, any probe into terrorist outrages demands skills of management and deliberation of a high order, especially with respect to sharing and dissemination of information. As long as the institutions of a democratic state are able to display over-all transparency and human concern, the general public will appreciate the constraints under which these institutions are compelled to function. The task is not easy, but it must be undertaken for democracy to function. Thus, in the context of December 13, Chomsky hoped that “Indian democracy and its legal system will rise to the challenge, … and ensure that human and civil rights are properly protected.”

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Lets not forget for even a moment that we are dealing with a judicial system which is rampant in corruption and a police force which sporadically proves it integrity..never on a regular basis..

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>“The defence lawyers Nitya Ramakrishnan and Nandita Haksar asked the most obvious questions about the police and the judiciary within hours of the High Court judgment. Ramakrishnan asked: “Why had the police, with the best legal advice and in such a high-profile case, not paused to consider if it had sufficient evidence to prosecute the case?” Haksar commented: “the question that remains to be answered is how did any court sentence a man to death on no evidence at all?” The issue is simple: the grievous miscarriage of justice for Geelani and Afsan cast an extensive shadow on the very credibility of the functioning of the police and the judiciary, notwithstanding a partial amelioration of the judiciary in the High Court judgment. Why should we now believe in the prosecution’s story for the rest of the case? In particular, what justifies the underlying assumption that, although the police, the prosecution and the Special Court have been horribly wrong in one part of the case, they have been vindicated for the other parts?”

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Capital punishment and its validity is not the focus of  contention. What is at stake here is a danger of concurrence to a crime which may be committed in Afzals hanging. We my be guilty of abetting a murder with our tacit acquiescence . While not attempting to get on to the moral high ground as basis of re-assessment of events, it would be immoral to comply wholeheartedly with what may be not wholly true. Credibility of the arms of the judicial system are in question here.Let us not presume knowledge of the complete set of circumstances , before determining crucial facts.

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From what we currently know, the Parliament attack case gives the impression of an elaborate scheme of fabrication and concoction on the part of the investigating agency. To mention a few cases: each arrest memo was fabricated, no recoveries were attested by reliable public witnesses, no public witness was asked to identify the accused on the basis of proper methods of identification, every disclosure and confessional statement was likely to have been secured under torture. The only explanation of this display of chilling arrogance is that the investigating agency must have thought that it can get away with anything in the prejudicial atmosphere created largely by the State in the name of “war on terrorism.” In fact, it did get away with awesome lies through two successive judicial proceedings. (These issues are discussed in Mukherji, “Who Attacked Parliament”,

<!–[if !supportEmptyParas]–> <!–[endif]–>A prejudiced environment , often leads to unfair evaluations. Let us not be quick to condemn but instead display alacrity in investigating the truth. If found guilty, then the dictates of law should be adhered to. Nevertheless ‘if’ is the operative word here. Or should it be ‘Alas’ ? Is it already too late?


  1. Are We Being Hasty- Afzal Affair « sachiniti
    Are We Being Hasty- Afzal Affair « sachiniti posted at

    Trackback by IndianPad — October 4, 2006 @ 5:24 pm | Reply

  2. Are we being hasty? NO!!!
    Since the birth of this nation, terrorists have killed thousands of innocent people including women and children. Now let Indian citizens see at least one terrorist getting punished.

    Comment by Mema — October 4, 2006 @ 11:05 pm | Reply

  3. din he confess on screen with the ndtv? for money n all those bland reasons!! the politico gimmick n the twists of blinded law are creating this hullabaloo- n media is cooking the debates- food for thought, en mass!
    this guy tried to shake the very foundation of our nation! there were lives lost n most importantly the image tarnished.
    the gandhigiri n the non-violence are for the intellectuals but here we are dealing with mere scums!
    president can reverse the law, the eye-for-an-eye makes the world blind… everything i agree, but not at the cost of damaging the integrity n fabric of my nation. sans kargil, sans mumbai blast, sans just about everyday blood shed in kashmir we could have talked of mild retribution!!
    u may say wud one death sentence be enuf to stop this harakiri? no! but therez a burning pain inside which needs to be quenched- like they anneal the red hot iron!

    we know he’s wrong n therez no need to waste the space n time keepin behind bars waiting for a la kandahar! its time we gave a piece of our mind to those who tried messing up n ya.. red tape, political mileage n all rest aside, wen therez injustice we just gottu act selfish!

    Comment by saptarshi — October 5, 2006 @ 9:38 am | Reply

  4. Afzal has not been given a fair trial

    this is what Malik has to say:”There is no direct evidence to link him to the incident. He has been sentenced to death only on the basis of circumstantial evidence. More so, those who had attacked Parliament had been killed and two main accused Masood Azhar and Ghazi Baba are out of the country. As in the case of Abu Salem, even they would not have been awarded capital punishment had they been extradited. So why is Afzal being condemned to death?” he asked.

    Kill him if he is guilty..but AFTER a just trial

    Comment by anonymous — October 5, 2006 @ 10:54 am | Reply

  5. This article appeared in The Hindu today

    ” Prominent political leaders, social activists, writers and academicians on Wednesday staged a sit-in demonstration at Jantar Mantar, demanding that Mohammad Afzal’s death sentence in the Parliament attack case be commuted to life imprisonment.

    The dharna was organised under the aegis of the Society for the Protection of Detainees’ and Prisoners’ Rights.

    Some speakers demanded that the case be investigated again as they claimed that the investigation had not been “not transparent,” raising several doubts.

    Booker Prize winner and social activist Arundhati Roy said she was stoutly against capital punishment, and supported the appeal for reduction of Afzal’s sentence.

    “The Parliament attack case is full of fabricated stories and evidence, and to hang someone who would not have been guilty would not be justice. Secondly, Afzal was not properly represented during the trial,” said Ms. Roy, demanding a parliamentary inquiry into the matter.

    Medha Patkar of the Narmada Bachao Andolan said death sentence to Afzal was a reflection of “terrorism by the establishment.”
    Without a fair trial how can he be hanged??

    Comment by afshaan — October 5, 2006 @ 11:14 am | Reply

  6. Oct 20th is scheduled to be the day for hanging Afzal. Any connection with the fact that it is also Diwali? or am i imagining it.

    Afzal has confessed to being involved with militants..but he had surrendered. If gilani can be absolved for lack of evidence, then if not let off maybe a life imprisonment would have been appropriate. In any case a death sentence turns them into martyrs.. who wants that?

    Comment by neha — October 5, 2006 @ 12:52 pm | Reply

  7. Hi guys,

    Thanks for the varied comments. On reading up intensively, the picture that emerges is ambiguous to quite an extent..This should not be a matter of opinions but suo moto an exemplification of justice..lets hope that whatever is right and just prevails..either way.

    Comment by kaveetaakaul — October 6, 2006 @ 11:19 pm | Reply

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