Monday, October 23, 2006

to hang or not to hang?



goi is in a dillemma.afzal guru had been charged with attempting to murder parliamentarians when the terrorists attacked parliament on december 13 2001.on august 4 2005 the supreme court delivered its final judgement in the case.it endorsed the view that the attack on parliament should be viewed as an act of war against the government of india.it went on to say that the collective conscience of the society will only be satisfied if capital punishment is meted out to the offender.though there was no direct evidencce linking afzal guru to the attack,enough circumstantial evidence pointed to afzal's collaboration with fidayeen terrorists.he has been found guilty and he faces death by hanging for the dastardly act alleged to have been committed by the terrorist group.he was set to be hanged on october 20.

the government is dithering. it has received numerous representations for reducing his sentence to life imprisonment.the jand k government has recommended that he may be pardoned.public opinion is overwhelming in kashmir.they see it as a miscarriage of justice. bjp and many others on the other hand want the government to go ahead and hang him.they feel that perpetrators of such a dastardly crime must face the death penalty.they are outraged that the government is even considering the requests from various political and non-political groups.afzal guru's family has met the president of india and has asked for clemency.the supreme court has intervened to say that the president does not have the powers to pardon such an offense on political or religious grounds

many of those who are recommending that he should not be hanged are of the view that he will become a martyr and it will in no way help the process of peace and reconciliation in the kashmir valley.he should rather be given life imprisonement.
in any case they say that civilised countries should do away with death penalty as it is a barbarious act to hang or shoot a person for his crime.

there are too many unanswered questions says arundhati roy of 'god of small things' fame.in a recent coverpage article of the latest issue of 'outlook' titled 'don't hang afzal',she says that if afzal is hanged we will never know the real people behind the crime.lashkar-e-toiba or jaish-e mohammed or someone else.she is of the view that afzal did not get a fair trial.he did not get a lawyer of choice at the sessions court where the evidence is presented and witnesses are cross examined.the trial she claims was unfair.she suggests that hanging may itself be a misdeed which will not be easily forgotten.or even forgiven.

meanwhile preparations are afoot to keep the rope and the hangman ready.buxor central jail 100 miles from patna will spin the special manila rope in the jail premises.the rope costs rs 180/kg.it has a lot of handwork that goes into its making.first a thick thread is spun from the yarn from j-34 variety of cotton and then the thread is smoothened by soft wax. tihar jail appears to be feverishly looking out for a hangman.what happened to its own hangman is not clear.there are many who have volunteered to do the job.

so what will goi do?

it is a million dollar question.