(By Abdul Majid Zargar)
The hanging of Afzal Guroo on Feberuary 9, 2013 illustrates a massive failure of institutions in India committed to so-called democratic & secular values of Indian Constitution, the media, the judiciary, the executive, the human rights commissions and the political parties. It also reflects the indifference of a partisan global community both individually as well as collectively under United Nations.
Let us take the failure of Indian system first. The judiciary failed to deliver justice not because of some omissions or errors of judgment but with the deliberate commission of acts designed to kill the accused. As Nandita Haksar, the noted lawyer puts it-The trial judge’s judgment makes a chilling reading. The trial judge made many presumptions, all of them in favor of the investigating agencies & against the accused. To summarize a long story, following general concerns about the trial arose:
That some documents relied upon by prosecution were forged. Few evidences were fabricated & concocted. Some sanctions were frivolous & unauthorized. Vital procedures were not followed. The investigation was shoddy, often callous. The trial judge was biased & prejudiced. The legal rights & constitutional rights of the accused were violated.(December 13-terror over Democracy by Mukherji-p 51). Even with this sort of a farce trial, the High court upheld the special trial court judgment and even enhanced the sentence of Afzal Guroo from Life imprisonment to Death sentence under section 121 of IPC. The final nail in the coffin came from the supreme court when it justified the sentence to satisfy, not the requirements of law, but the collective conscience of Indians. How could a chicken get justice in the assembly of hawks?
During the whole period between the arrest of accused persons & surreptitious execution of Afzal Guroo, there was a complete complicity between the police & media-both print & visual. The two worked in tandem with a pre-determined mind to annihilate the accused even before pronouncing them guilty. A national television channel produced a film on the basis of police version and pronounced the guilt of the accused even before the Judges. The Prime Minster & Home Minster of India approved the film with a pat on the back of producers. As BBC’s political commentator, Adam Curtis observed “the suspiciously circular relationship between the security services and much of the media made official briefings about terrorism, often unverified or unverifiable by journalists, dramatic press stories which in a jittery media-driven democracy-have prompted further briefings & further stories. Few of these ominous stories are retracted if they turn out to be baseless”.
The most questionable role in Afzal’s hanging was that of President of India. He refused clemency despite the fact that all material pointing to Afzal’s framing in the case was available to him. By that time it had also become known that the investigation in his case was conducted by a police officer, Rajbir Singh who later turned out to be a criminal and was killed in a property dispute shoot-out with his friend. The President’ two predecessors-Mr. Abdul Kalam & Madam Patil had doggedly avoided to toe the Govt. line. So when the pressure mounted on congress by the BJP slogans like-“Desh Sharmanda Hay-Afzal abi Zinda Hay” it badly needed its own man in the presidential chair to oblige and Mukerji did not disappoint them.
No western power uttered an effective word of protest as India committed a most foul crime in the political history of a territory still deemed as disputed by International community & UN. The US and the West continue to be indifferent to crimes against humanity & a gradual genocide of Kashmiris committed by Indian State. While they can see a needle of human rights violation in Middle east, the logs of war crimes being committed in Kashmir are invisible to them. Only when a public protest elsewhere fits into their geopolitical designs, it is instantly glorified it as a popular movement; & awarded the honors of a color label; and also lend it the money & muscle power. Just recall their so-labeled the Orange Revolution of Ukraine, the Rose Revolution of Georgia, the Cidar Revolution of Czechoslovakia not in the distant past.
The Kashmiris have not been lucky; their movement stays unblessed with a color label. India, so far has been keeping all of them at bay under the template of terrorism. But how long?
Author is a practicing chartered Accountant. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org