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Updated: February 11, 2013 12:17 IST

A perfect day for democracy

Arundhati Roy
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Arundhati Roy. File Photo: M. Vedhan
The Hindu Arundhati Roy. File Photo: M. Vedhan

Wasn’t it? Yesterday I mean. Spring announced itself in Delhi. The sun was out, and the Law took its Course. Just before breakfast, Afzal Guru, prime accused in the 2001 Parliament Attack was secretly hanged, and his body was interred in Tihar Jail. Was he buried next to Maqbool Butt? (The other Kashmiri who was hanged in Tihar in 1984. Kashmiris will mark that anniversary tomorrow.) Afzal’s wife and son were not informed. “The Authorities intimated the family through Speed Post and Registered Post,” the Home Secretary told the press, “the Director General of J&K Police has been told to check whether they got it or not.” No big deal, they’re only the family of a Kashmiri terrorist.

In a moment of rare unity the Nation, or at least its major political parties, the Congress, the BJP and the CPM came together as one (barring a few squabbles about ‘delay’ and ‘timing’) to celebrate the triumph of the Rule of Law. The Conscience of the Nation, which broadcasts live from TV studios these days, unleashed its collective intellect on us — the usual cocktail of papal passion and a delicate grip on facts. Even though the man was dead and gone, like cowards that hunt in packs, they seemed to need each other to keep their courage up. Perhaps because deep inside themselves they know that they all colluded to do something terribly wrong.

What are the facts?

On the 13th of December 2001 five armed men drove through the gates of the Parliament House in a white Ambassador fitted out with an Improvised Explosive Device. When they were challenged they jumped out of the car and opened fire. They killed eight security personnel and a gardener. In the gun battle that followed, all five attackers were killed. In one of the many versions of confessions he made in police custody, Afzal Guru identified the men as Mohammed, Rana, Raja, Hamza and Haider. That’s all we know about them even today. L.K. Advani, the then Home Minister, said they ‘looked like Pakistanis.’ (He should know what Pakistanis look like right? Being a Sindhi himself.) Based only on Afzal’s confession (which the Supreme Court subsequently set aside citing ‘lapses’ and ‘violations of procedural safeguards’) the Government of India recalled its Ambassador from Pakistan and mobilised half a million soldiers to the Pakistan border. There was talk of nuclear war. Foreign embassies issued Travel Advisories and evacuated their staff from Delhi. The standoff lasted for months and cost India thousands of crores.

On the 14th of December 2001 the Delhi Police Special Cell claimed it had cracked the case. On the 15th of December it arrested the ‘master mind’ Professor S.A.R Geelani in Delhi and Showkat Guru and Afzal Guru in a fruit market in Srinagar. Subsequently they arrested Afsan Guru, Showkat’s wife. The media enthusiastically disseminated the Special Cell’s version. These were some of the headlines: ‘DU Lecturer was Terror Plan Hub’, ‘Varsity Don Guided Fidayeen’, ‘Don Lectured on Terror in Free Time.’ Zee TV broadcast a ‘docudrama’ called December 13th , a recreation that claimed to be the ‘Truth Based on the Police Charge Sheet.’ (If the police version is the truth, then why have courts?) Then Prime Minister Vajpayee and L.K. Advani publicly appreciated the film. The Supreme Court refused to stay the screening saying that the media would not influence judges. The film was broadcast only a few days before the fast track court sentenced Afzal, Showkat and Geelani to death. Subsequently the High Court acquitted the ‘mastermind’, Professor S.A.R Geelani, and Afsan Guru. The Supreme Court upheld the acquittal. But in its 5th August 2005 judgment it gave Mohammed Afzal three life sentences and a double death sentence.

Contrary to the lies that have been put about by some senior journalists who would have known better, Afzal Guru was not one of “the terrorists who stormed Parliament House on December 13th 2001” nor was he among those who “opened fire on security personnel, apparently killing three of the six who died.” (That was the BJP Rajya Sabha MP, Chandan Mitra, in The Pioneer, October 7th 2006). Even the police charge sheet does not accuse him of that. The Supreme Court judgment says the evidence is circumstantial: “As is the case with most conspiracies, there is and could be no direct evidence amounting to criminal conspiracy.” But then it goes on to say: “The incident, which resulted in heavy casualties had shaken the entire nation, and the collective conscience of society will only be satisfied if capital punishment is awarded to the offender.”

Who crafted our collective conscience on the Parliament Attack case? Could it have been the facts we gleaned from the papers? The films we saw on TV?

There are those who will argue that the very fact that the courts acquitted S.A.R Geelani and convicted Afzal proves that the trial was free and fair. Was it?

The trial in the fast-track court began in May 2002. The world was still convulsed by post 9/11 frenzy. The US government was gloating prematurely over its ‘victory’ in Afghanistan. The Gujarat pogrom was ongoing. And in the Parliament Attack case, the Law was indeed taking its own course. At the most crucial stage of a criminal case, when evidence is presented, when witnesses are cross-examined, when the foundations of the argument are laid — in the High Court and the Supreme Court you can only argue points of law, you cannot introduce new evidence — Afzal Guru, locked in a high security solitary cell, had no lawyer. The court-appointed junior lawyer did not visit his client even once in jail, he did not summon any witnesses in Afzal’s defence and did not cross examine the prosecution witnesses. The judge expressed his inability to do anything about the situation.

Even still, from the word go, the case fell apart. A few examples out of many:

How did the police get to Afzal? They said that S.A.R Geelani led them to him. But the court records show that the message to arrest Afzal went out before they picked up Geelani. The High Court called this a ‘material contradiction’ but left it at that.

The two most incriminating pieces of evidence against Afzal were a cellphone and a laptop confiscated at the time of arrest. The Arrest Memos were signed by Bismillah, Geelani’s brother, in Delhi. The Seizure Memos were signed by two men of the J&K Police, one of them an old tormentor from Afzal’s past as a surrendered ‘militant’. The computer and cellphone were not sealed, as evidence is required to be. During the trial it emerged that the hard disc of the laptop had been accessed after the arrest. It only contained the fake home ministry passes and the fake identity cards that the terrorists used to access Parliament. And a Zee TV video clip of Parliament House. So according to the police, Afzal had deleted all the information except the most incriminating bits, and he was speeding off to hand it over to Ghazi Baba, who the charge sheet described as the Chief of Operations.

A witness for the prosecution, Kamal Kishore, identified Afzal and told the court he had sold him the crucial SIM card that connected all the accused in the case to each other on the 4th of December 2001. But the prosecution’s own call records showed that the SIM was actually operational from November 6th 2001.

It goes on and on, this pile up of lies and fabricated evidence. The courts note them, but for their pains the police get no more than a gentle rap on their knuckles. Nothing more.

Then there’s the back story. Like most surrendered militants Afzal was easy meat in Kashmir — a victim of torture, blackmail, extortion. In the larger scheme of things he was a nobody. Anyone who was really interested in solving the mystery of the Parliament Attack would have followed the dense trail of evidence that was on offer. No one did, thereby ensuring that the real authors of conspiracy will remain unidentified and uninvestigated.

But now that Afzal Guru has been hanged, I hope our collective conscience has been satisfied. Or is our cup of blood still only half full?

Arundhati Roy would have been appreciated if she could have made her
statements and Owaisi hate speech. Her silence over the hate speech
proves that she is ethnically biased.

from:  Vishnu Gupta
Posted on: Feb 12, 2013 at 23:25 IST

oh!!! how kind and compassionate she is! she must have something to say
about the soldiers who sacrificed their lives on the day of attack. what
does she think about the families of those martyrs? i think they are not
important for her. What important for her is the Terrorist and their
rights. But she should remember one thing that due to these martyrs she
can speak and write in Newspaper. stop fooling us and if to yourself.
Afzal was not angel of peace and brotherhood.

from:  girish phalke
Posted on: Feb 12, 2013 at 22:31 IST

Arundhati Roy is getting all worked up for no reason. She should know that masterminding/even abetting a terrorist act has always merited a hanging in our country...Reflect, Arundhati. Why else would VD Savarkar's picture be adorning the Central Hall of Parliament?

from:  Niranjan Ramakrishnan
Posted on: Feb 12, 2013 at 20:35 IST

It is surprising to see such intellectuals popping up after the hanging.
It took a whole 12 years for the court and yet these people chose to
remain silent until after the execution!
Why did they not try and fix things before - if they believed they had a
reason to do so? Probably it is too painstaking to stand up for a cause
and too convenient to write up a liberal views in the comforts of arm
chair.

from:  Abhi
Posted on: Feb 12, 2013 at 19:14 IST

"A Half-Truth is always more dangerous than an outright Lie"...This article reinforces the saying like mortar-cement!

from:  Shashank
Posted on: Feb 12, 2013 at 18:56 IST

This is a well written article and I can not side with the author or
with government. But, I can say that criminal investigation and
justice system in our country is highly flawed. There is no
scientific criminal investigation. The state of hard-disk and mobile
phone records in this case indicates our lack of competence in
scientific investigations. Torture of suspects by police force is
another problem that we have. We never know if the admission of guilt
by suspects are real or if it is coming from torture. Police is
always under tremendous pressure to make arrests as soon as possible.
Politics and media plays very dirty here. Though this is true in
every modern democracies, political interference in investigation is
very common in India. We need to address these issues by providing
greater autonomy and funding for establishing scientific criminal
investigations by police. In the state of play, police and criminal
investigations are just pawns in the hands of politicians.

from:  Shain George
Posted on: Feb 12, 2013 at 18:08 IST

well I am disturbed with the fact that family has not been informed &
allowed to meet him, that is really against the humanity but they
would have their own reason behind the secrecy as we can see how bad
things turned out after the execution, wonder what would have happen
if news had reach there 7 days back. rest if Guru himself admitted
that he facilitate militants & he got 50k for this, where is the
problem.. you can argue on punishment that we cant decide every court
has kept same punishment & even supreme court has gone with that 2
time.you cant blame that all judges or person involved in case were
against Afzal Guru. He got what he deserved but yes same thing need to
be followed for others too if militants have right to kill innocent
ppl then law has to take hard steps.

from:  ravendra singh rawat
Posted on: Feb 12, 2013 at 12:46 IST

Like a better pill, some things have to be swallowed in the better
interest of the country.

from:  UMA MAHESHWARI
Posted on: Feb 12, 2013 at 10:35 IST

Arundhati's reason flourishes after the event.. she was keeping mum for
the last 12 yrs, neither took the brief for Afzal and fought the case
in court as his lawyer is she considers herself to be the judge and the
jury both. She uses our legal system when it suits her else she
blatantly blames it as she is doing now. She kept quiet on the killing
of Hindus in Godhra but opened her mouth thereafter. She parroted about
SriKrishna COmmission Report but when supreme Court said Modi was not
guilty she was silent. I admire her for making me laugh by her twisted
logic

from:  Mohan Datta
Posted on: Feb 12, 2013 at 09:48 IST

It's surprising and sad that the family was not allowed to meet Afzal Guru and that they were not informed about the hanging. This article though, a well written sarcasm, lacks enough evidence to convince there was lack of evidence against Guru, just as it is points out that there was not enough for his prosecution. It is tough to decide for commoners like me when just presented with selected facts.

from:  Shrikant
Posted on: Feb 12, 2013 at 07:39 IST

As with most commentators from all sides of the political spectrum,
Ms.Roy chooses to cherry pick her facts, and producing what amounts to
an intellectually dishonest opinion. Yes, Supreme court said that the
evidence is circumstantial, but it also said something more, which
Ms.Roy conveniently ignores, since it won't fit her narrative. Here is
the complete version:

“As is the case with most of the conspiracies, there is and could be
no direct evidence of the agreement amounting to criminal conspiracy.
However, the circumstances cumulatively considered and weighed, would
unerringly point to the collaboration of the accused Afzal Guru with
the slain ‘Fidayeen’ terrorists. The circumstances, if considered
together, as it ought to be, establish beyond reasonable doubt that
Afzal Guru was a party to the conspiracy and had played an active part
in various acts done in furtherance of the conspiracy,”

from:  Giri
Posted on: Feb 12, 2013 at 04:09 IST

The author has selectively picked excerpts from the Supreme Court
judgment to drive home her point but reading the context of these
excerpts gives you a completely different picture. The article's use of
excerpts falsely portrays that Supreme Court convicted Guru even after
acknowledging no proof of his involvement.

from:  Sandeep
Posted on: Feb 12, 2013 at 01:23 IST

It is becoming a dangerous trend in India where so-called
intellectuals show a lot of concern for human rights of terrorists
while completely ignoring the trauma faced by victims. It is pathetic
to see how a bunch of activists are trying to portray Afzal Guru as an
innocent person. How can we doubt the judgement of Supreme Court! we
can not expect visual proof against terrorists all the time as it
happened in kasab case. So courts have to give their decision based on
circumstantial evidences in most of the cases. Besides, critics should
not forget that it was the same institution who turned down the death
punishment for other two accused. There may be many lapses in our
system but that can not hide the heinous crime committed by Afzal
Guru.

from:  sp
Posted on: Feb 12, 2013 at 00:27 IST

Rather than being ashamed about the court proceedings in a democracy,
the citizens of this country need to take care of the victims who have
died trying to protect the greatest symbol of democracy, i.e. the
Parliament. Arundhati may try to make everyone feel ashamed, but she
forgets that thousands die due to the activities of separatists and
thousands suffer due to the inability of human rights groups to
support the victims of their aggression. If they have a sense of
empathy for human rights than these social workers need to see both
sides of the coin.

from:  Shubchintak
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 23:57 IST

there is no caste/religion/region of a terrorist or traitor and what a traitor deserves, did deserve in Parliament attack case.. Insane like arundhati roy can only accused democracy because this democracy give right to express feeling and it happens only in largest democracy of World, i.e. if she would be an american citizen and do sympathize with laden after 9/11, I'm damn sure that she must have get capital punishment. i only ask arundhati to please respect democracy/law and constitution of India, and don't violate liberty provided by Constitution of India. Rest is on Her...

from:  Saurabh Yadav
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 22:47 IST

What stopped NGOs, Human Rights Orgs, Arundhatis to file case against SC judgement ? Why cry foul now. There were 8 years to re-open this case and challenge the verdict.

It is very easy to claim in an op-ed. But to stand the rigour of courts is not easy. You have to prove beyond doubt Afzal was innocent.

from:  Prince Abdullah
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 22:43 IST

Even those developed countries that have influenced her all through her life would have suspended all her fundamental rights and booked her for treason. Well, she must thank her stars that ours is democracy that confers on people the right to be wrong!

from:  Bala Sreenivasan
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 22:22 IST

A well written piece no doubt, but one wishes it had equally
convincing content as well. The author is deeply moved by the plight
of Afzal Guru, the convict in the famous Parliament-attack case, as
he was hanged and interred in Tihar Jail a day before. But alas! The
author spares no tears for the nine persons including eight
security personnel and one gardener (with each one having a family
of his or her own that was left orphaned) who succumbed to the
bullets of the terrorists on that fateful day, nor for the 16
persons including 13 security men who received injuries. She shows
no empathy nor even bothers to mention the plight of the innumerable
innocent Indians killed in the Mumbai attack or in the highjack of
the Boing-747 airplane in the nineties or on victims of countless
other terrorist attacks on common people. Does her kind heart melt
with equal sympathy against the gunning down of Neelkanth Ganjoo,
the judge who pronounced the death sentence on JKLF leader Maqbool
Bhat in early eighties for killing a police official? Surely her
conscience feels no qualms in questioning the Conscience of the
Nation in favour of only the terrorists or convicts? In fact, Afzal
Guru was provided a qualified lawyer at every stage of judicial
proceedings, but nothing could guarantee his acquittal. Is that
really a problem? No less a renowned lawyer than Ram Jethmalani
represented him in the Supreme Court. Just like another terrorist
Azmal Kasab of Mumbai-attack notoriety who was provided the services
of one of the topmost lawyers in the Supreme Court. How many of
other Indians- even poor, victimized people- can dream of getting
provided such top quality of free legal aid? Indeed the punishment
given to Afzal is a strong message to the enemies of the country
that India can give strong response to attacks against its unity and
integrity.

from:  D.K.Bhatt
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 22:03 IST

These article are the stupidity of some people who thinks they
themselves believes that they are different from ordinary people or
intelligent in society ...

from:  sandeep
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 21:51 IST

The print media always faults the electronic media for "trial by media" by rating hungry TV hosts. Now the print media has its own attention seeking hosts and its "acquittal by media".
congratulation!

from:  Hemant
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 21:38 IST

Yet another article apart from other TV shows asking questions and justification regarding the hanging. If that was the feeling these journalist/writers had and if they felt , justice was not met , why weren't these articles or tv shows aired questioning the judicial system before ?? When we for sure know, how they impact the outcome. We have loads n loads of example where justice was met when media came out with facts.
For a split second , lets say , the justice was not fair and square, but I think these Journalist/Writers were just waiting with their manuscripts ready to air a show or write an article, just after the hanging because it is easier that way.

Everything said and done, the Govt should have informed the family and let them meet him. This is something I support.

from:  RBhat
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 20:36 IST

It is a pity that a country rejoices at the execution of its citizen. The events viz., taking the tea, offering namaz etc, leading to his execution, as described in The Hindu, frighten me in the same way as did the events that happened on the fateful 13 December 2011. There is some deep flaw in the way we administer justice.

from:  N Ramakrishnan
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 20:07 IST

To all those who ask questions about Afzal's confessions (Particularly
to Mr. Vijay), go through the content again to find answers for your
questions. Add to that, Afzal's wife, son and sister-in-Law were held
hostage by Kashmir police, during his confession and they were released
only after he confessed before media. Also the investigating officer
admonished him in full media glare to speak only what he was told to
speak. Rest you all watch Hindi movies!

from:  Shareef
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 17:31 IST


I have a great respect for Arundhati Roy's Literary work and Social
activism. But this article is more of a selective choice of overall
picture highlighting the doubts on judgement. But do you have full
text of supreme court judgement that would have highlighted points on
which accused found guilty?
When an entire state can rally behind a person, a powerful writer and
some think tank can rally behind him why cant a descent Lawyer was
provided to support him. Instead of shutting down a state that is
raged with out a genuine reason could have supported the accused with
best of the lawyers.
The question is were there any appeals against Supreme court judgement pending against this case? Do you wish to challenge the supreme court judgement further if so have you done it? Or is it that you are against capital punishment hence raising this issue in the aftermath of Hanging?
If it is neither then this article is irrelevant in my personal onion.

from:  Srini
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 17:11 IST

"and the collective conscience of society will only be satisfied if capital punishment is awarded to the offender" Coming from the highest court of the land, this is something that we would have to be forever ashamed about.

from:  Vijaysagar
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 16:49 IST

Article explores the pores in our democracy.The way Afsal Guru was hung is really inauspicious inside a democratic realm.His family should have been given an opertunity to meet him before hanging.Govenment's draconial and autocratic move was really atrocious.it was vivid that his conviction include fabrication of truth and conspiracy as most of the facts police produced were congruent.When the real perpetrators could escape from law, how can a person whose involvement was not even clearly proved could be hung with the possiblititiesof circumstances.Government just produced a scapegoat to deceive the publich while letting escape the real miscreants.This might be the first time in the history of democratic india where a convicted have been hung by denying his deserved rights of meeting his family and bid his final good bye.Just by hanging the guilty to death merely wont be the remedy to detter terrorism, for that whole people have to take collective measures

from:  BKuria
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 16:42 IST

Ms. Uma Maheswari:
You end your poem by stating:
"An eye for an eye or peace you will have none"
While I do admire your poetic prowess - sadly harnessed in defence of the death
penalty - I would also like to point out what the father of the nation, Mahatma
Gandhi once said:
"An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind"

from:  V. Suresh
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 16:26 IST

Instead of shedding tears to please the readers, why didn't she hire a lawyer to defend Afzal Guru if she is well aware of the loopholes in the investigation and circumstantial evidence?
The author argument that Afzal Guru was not a foot soldier but the mastermind and should not be given strict punishment is kiddish. So what if he is not a foot soldier, he is the mastermind who is to be dealt more seriously.
Last but not least, the author conveniently sidelines the confession he made not just in the court but in the interview to the media? Is that also fabricated?
Terrorists deserve no mercy and The Hindu would do well to stop potraying terrorists as saints.

from:  Vijay
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 16:06 IST

Death of humanity and victory for collective vengence..but I know as a
human that humanity can never fail..it will again rise through the words of people like Arundhati and even a proclaimed terrorist like Afsal will be a Martyr FOR humanity. I was moved by the article that Hindu published of what the Jail staff was talking about Afsal..AS A HINDU BROTHER MY PRAYERS ARE WITH HIM....WE HAVE TO TRY TO BRING LIGHT TO HIS THOUGHTS OR WRITINGS OR HIS DIARY IF EVER HE HAD ONE, TO MAKE
SURE THE EXTREME ELEMENTS IN BOTH COMMUNITIES ARE NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE
OF HIS DEATH.EITHER TO SEEK VENEGENCE OR TO CLAIM VICTORY..

from:  Dinoop Ravindran Menon
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 16:02 IST

Just want to inform those commentators pointing to the NDTV interview
of Guru, he clearly said that, he only arranged the housing for the
suspected terrorist in Parliament attack under the instructions from
the shady security forces, who said that this has to be done for
security purpose (not to attack the parliament). Pls note that Guru
was a surrendered militant and was reporting daily to the shady
security forces only in Kashmir, who were acting on behalf of the then
BJP led government. BJP at that time wanted to win the next election,
wash away the crimes committed in Gujrat and created many false flag
operations like Kargil, Parliament attack etc. to divert the attention
of Indian Public. Hope my analysis answers the unanswered questions
raised by many. No one can enter Parliament crossing the 3 security
ring. Our securities protecting the parliament are not so stupid that
they do not recognize fake identities and fake permits.

from:  Atul
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 15:21 IST

While Capital Punishment in a civilized society is misplaced, the Nation has to collectively look at removing it from the statute. The Author narrates these details, which is a strong criticism of the systems in place in this Country ! But as a concerned citizen, why write this after the person has been hanged ? She could have taken up the case of this person and fought the might of the system and its wrong doings. How is she different from the Media, she is kindling the so-called intellectual thought process, post the event. Its an Arm chair note from her, which blanket blames the system. From a personal perspective, any death sentence brings agony and emotions, since it is very unnatural and against the tenets of Civilized Living. Better to fight for the cause of removing the Capital Punishment from the Constitution like the European Nations and join the Cultured Group.

from:  D V Shanker
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 14:22 IST

Arundhati Roy's Comment on Afzal Guru's Hanging- " Is our cup of blood
still ,only half full?"

Uma replies-
" Our bloody cup may or may not be full,
Still none can cover our eyes with wool;
Our lives and heart are deeply scarred,
Democracy has been deeply marred;
We try hard but in vain
We cannot feed a viper and raise cain;
We cannot shelter a wool in sheep's clothing;
Try hard we do yet we cannot get rid of his hate and loathing.
We are willing to embrace with grace
Do you think he would still match our pace?
So consider here justice done,
An eye for an eye or peace you will have none!!!"

from:  UMA MAHESHWARI
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 13:44 IST

I completely agree with writers view. She made a audacious observation.she has logic in this.

from:  vijay meeshi
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 13:38 IST

Somewhere electoral politics has started being played. And who else a better person to pull the trigger and start the race than the President himself who, as we all know, is a hardcore Congressman. So the police and courts played a dubious role in convicting a person who from all angles of the evidence looks like a "hajri" which in underworld parlance is just a front presented to the public to satisfy our collective conscience to take the heat of the real culprits. In a country where a life has only the value of how much wealth and power he has, a person hanged should matter nothing.

from:  Baba
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 13:31 IST

Arundhati Roy always stood in the side of humanity whether it is the brutual killing of 17 villagers including minors at Chattisgarh by armed forces or victims of communal clashes or deaths of inncents of poor due to the irresponsibility of administration. Here she once again lift her pen to register her opposition against death penalty. Taking life from a human being is not a remedial measurement for the epidemic called terrorism. For achieving peace the the entire society should take collective steps.

from:  Appade Rajeevan
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 13:31 IST

Where was Arundhati Roy all these days? She could have written this article much earlier and the very fact it has been written it is just to sensationalise the issue and create further rift. Let us not demean the highest judicial authority and the office of the President, who would have definitely, gone into all aspects of the case and definitely not taken a decision out of political compulsion or in haste

from:  Partha
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 13:29 IST

Questioning India's law or Arundhati's wit on few lines written here and
there, would be unwise. I am not sure what being wise would be, but what
I know and resent is that an Indian citizen held on gallows for last 6
years was not allowed to meet his family before the gallows took over
him.
"Shame on this farce democracy" might not be the adequate choice of
sentence here.

from:  Varun
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 13:23 IST

Hats off to Arundhati Roy! This was the same tactics that the Jewish
State of Israel had been using for the past few decades. Sadly, all
"democratic" states started borrowing this same tactics bit by bit. Even
democratically formed political and religious groups, lately, have
gained the courage of using this tactics without being observed!

from:  Ziyad
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 13:19 IST

Arundhati Roy is correct. India can never give justice for Kashmir or Kashmiri. The Death penalty was a vote grabbing stunt before the election from India's so called "President" who is a congress stooge in reality.

This President seems to be sighning off death penalties as if he is uploading his staus in facebook....so casual....

from:  albert paulose
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 13:09 IST

I don't understand one thing: did the terrorists informed the families of the cops in the parliament that they will be killed today ? Afzal may not have been in the parliament premised and killed our cops, but if he was involved in providing information or help for such an attack to happen then he should be punished as well. This will make someone stop and think before supporting terrorists..

from:  Lavanya
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 13:03 IST

Sad day for democracy when a person can be sent to the gallows without a fair trial. Its a shame on the Judicial system as well. His blood was let to satisfy the blood urge of a specific section of the nations populace, who while professing love for benevolent Hinduism, are most blood thirsty and believe in Sharia's blood for blood principle! And the Government of the day did not have the courage to take the allegation of being soft on terror, which would invariably have come about from political opponents and the grotesque pontifications of various TV channels.

from:  Kartic Chauhan
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 12:41 IST


Afzal Guru never discounted his role in the attacks. And, as is the trend with such conspiracies, the state has to rely on circumstantial evidence.
Afzal Guru should not have been hanged (Nor should anyone be). But did we have a viable alternative? After the hanging of Kasab, an Afzal Guru lodged in prison would only have invited questions from the other side of the border. After all, atleast on paper, both of them waged wars on the Indian state.

from:  Sreejith
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 12:38 IST

My salute to Madam Arundhati Roy! This ‘Lady Voltaire’ poses her questions in the COURT of the People, frankly and boldly, in her scrutiny of evidence that was used by the Indian Legal courts to deliver judgment on Afzal Guru. Rulers and legal experts of India should not underestimate the very ideal of justice which is felt in every one of us as an inseparable natural value from the big concept of UNIVERSAL MAN-the man who belongs naturally to this nature. Its realisation in us and others keeps us going ahead in a harmonious co-existence with fellow human beings; it is one main attribute that becomes base and fabric combining every one of us with other social and political institutions and gives us a common identity as belonging to a single cultural and similar life practices (which were the main propaganda during the National Movement against the British). Only by ensuring a ‘guaranteed protection’ of this ideal of Justice, ‘as a precondition’ can any STATE (the CLASS ruling in it) and its legal document- the CONSTITUTION, expect individuals, groups, communities and the likes to cooperate in the maintenance of the status quo of the political system in a multi-religious country like ours. Denial of this to any “innocent” individual is a big threat to the entire humanity, urgently demanding a big STOP and THINK before the future takes us further.

from:  A.Kannan
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 12:29 IST

Somewhere down my conscience I also feel that Afzal Guru didn't had a
fair trial, he was used as a escape goat. The way whole thing went it
can't be justified, I feel sorry for his family and for his kids, but
for all that I don't need to know that LK Advani is a sindhi and thats
why he could recognise Pakistani much better. I am not a supporter of
LK Advani, but Arundhati mam you are a self proclaimed activist
therefore you should by pointing out the caste of one particluar
person overhere, you are not doing a better thing than Mr. Praveen
Togadia and Mr. Owaisi.. Sindh was a part of India, therefore sindhi
are native of India only,you can't say anything about a particular
sect of people like this.. Didn't expected this from a person as
learned as you are..

from:  Shatroopa Acharya
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 11:40 IST

Totally agree with Arundhati Roy.Indian police can pick up normal
person, make them to say what they want through torture( as Afzal had
electric shots on his genetical parts by ACP Rajbeer singh and later on
ACP had awards but this guy got death), he was forced to accept police
theory.it's all politics to get votes. Why those people who raped sikh
women and burn alive Sikh in Delhi are free and enjoying high profile
jobs. India would be a great country if law treat all majorities and
minorities equally.

from:  Vicky Singh
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 11:29 IST

Dont fully agree with the writer. Yes, there must have been loopholes,
but if he has committed a crime, he must be punished. Why did he have to
confess on a news channel if he says he was not guilty. He could have
used the TV to explain himself in some other way. His views/opnions were
as confusing as our's about him.

from:  NItesh
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 11:04 IST

Arundhati has put up a very right question related to the filming of
the story by the press. I don't understand how can a press can directly
accuse a person simply on the basis of unproved evidence shown by the
police. They may be biased. They are not above our courts. I think there
is a need to put a check on this biased media.

from:  Mohit Kumar
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 10:53 IST

It was juidicial murder of an innocent person. We all indians must feel shame. I am not against hanging real terrorist, but this is act of simply hanging someone becuase they couldn't find a terrorist.

from:  Rajiver
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 10:22 IST

It is one of black mark on Indian Judiciary & Law enforcement agencies
in recent days.It is not unusual to see the law taking its own course
for minorities especially Muslims.I am afraid this incident would have
very bad impact for integration of Kashmir in to mainstream.When
Congress ditched the Muslim league by not supporting them as agreed
earlier (Pre poll alliance)in forming govt in erstwhile united
provinces during 1930's later it paved the way for division country in
to India &Pakistan.Like wise this cowardly act for narrow political
gains may serve to keep of fundamentalist like Modi & his co but not
good for national integration.It would lead to further alienation of
Kashmiris from India.It is high time that basic human rights of
Kasmiris are respected by withdrawing special army act and ensure
justice for the common people in Kashmir.People can won by fairness and
love but not by atrocities and thousands of armed forces & crores of
tax money.

from:  kabir
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 09:53 IST

It is high time that India consider the Death Sentance law. The death penality can never be a solution for what ever be the crime committed. And particularly in this case, the Judgement was prejudiced and delivered based on the public emotional outcry. As mentioned by the author, a fair and free trail must have been given to Afzal Guru. We Indians should stop thinking the issue on emotional terms and start analysing the facts. God save India

from:  Vignesh
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 09:42 IST

It is a bit of screwed up logic when one starts to politicize an overt legal course of action. Did the individual inform those who were killed the day he was going to attack the Parliament. Families of the many who were killed that day were waiting for these innocent folks to return home. No letters were sent out to tell these folks that action is going to be taken. What harm did they do when some one decided he had the right to do whatever he wants for his own fanciful thinking...
It is the bane of the legal system that we waffle over such cases for years to decide. Such matters should be decided in a matter of months and justice rendered without an compunction.

from:  Prat Ravi
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 08:15 IST

I have to disagree with many readers and eminent social activist's on this matter, Capital punishment was never instituted to abolish the elements that challenge the rule of law, or the sacred democratic functioning of country. it was always meant to be a mode of social dislike towards an action or in some sense aversion or better framed as deterrence towards crime. Hoarding criminals who have scarce regard for human values, who tarnish a free nation's principles of freedom and right to choose destiny is not right but not an option itself.
after all if he/she chooses such a life the consequences also should be known to them. nothing comes free in this world, there is a price for every decision we take. I think Afzal guru's death and Ajmal Kasab's death rightfully puts our nation amongst them who wont tolerate any form of violence against the people of this country. lest the death of those who died protecting us would be in vain.

from:  Richu Thomas
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 05:28 IST

Looking at these comments, I feel whenever anyone criticizes the establishment its just in our nature to consent. Afzal was apprised of the mission to carry out attacks on institutions like Parliament and Embassies and was asked to find a safe hideout for the terrorists in Delhi. He himself confirmed this on Aaj Tak channel on video. 12 people died in that attack and many many more would have if not for our brave security forces. Do I think UPA's timing is politically influenced? may be, but that does that mean Afzal should have been set free, absolutely not. He knew what he was getting into and deserved what he got.

from:  Sai Dammu
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 04:33 IST

Only God is the author of life (can create or take away life). Capital punishment needs to be abolished. Every human beng however hurtful is rational and can be brought back to the path of good ways. The case of Afzal Guru highlights how media/ politicians brought pressure on courts to award a death sentence (rumoured that the trial has glaring inconsistencies), and our president took it upon himself to decide the fate of the individual.

from:  Raj
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 02:01 IST

The writer herself says that Afzal's computer hard disk contained the fake home Ministry paases and fake identity cards of all the assailants. They cannot be there unless, he was closely connected with the Plot. So,I find no reason to find fault with the Judicial process, simply because, there were other weaknesses in the case.

from:  v.vijayamohan
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 02:00 IST

A small question: Why did it take so long, 12 years, to state the claim that the death sentence awarded to Afzal Guru might be an error? Articles like this make us question not necessarily the decision of the highest courts of the land, but the motives of the authors. Many people would have appreciated if the merits of the case were discussed during these 12 long years and not immediately after the hanging.

from:  luhar sen
Posted on: Feb 11, 2013 at 00:23 IST

And I am really heartened as an alienated kashmiri to read some of the comments posted by the Indians here, who prove that there are people in India who can see it from rational point of view, which I had become skeptical about owing to the Television media, and also leads me to believe that print media in India is on the forward and TV press is going backwards.

from:  Irfan
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 23:58 IST

How can you put him inside for 11 years and then offer the rope, without family members being informed. I m from the valley and we know now that post never reached to the family, govt cannot obviously inform them before the execution because it will be leaked in public here and the consequences...Coming back to the kashmir point, we respect punishment to the guilty in general, but in this case ok he was punished (whether guilty or not) still ok, but the facts that will make the matter worse here and alienate us are the secrecy in execution, burial in the jail, we could not offer janaza because of curfew which was imposed even before people knew anything,in the earliest hours of the morning, the fact that his wife and his son came to know from the media like everyone else here, the lies by the home secretary, and the 11 years he spent in jail. I salute Mrs arundhati Roy, I appreciate The Hindu for this publishing.

from:  Irfan
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 23:52 IST

I always heavily hated the Sharia model of justice -- even in that
outdated model of justice system, everybody claims that the due
process of a fair trial was followed and the offender was punished
like his hands being cut off or him/her being beheaded. The whole
drama of a so-called fair trial is only an eyewash -- it is to fool
people. That the Congress Govt hanged Afzal Guru makes me extremely
seriously doubt the criminality, dubiousness and dangerousness the
Congress poses for the nation -- if a party can murder someone for
votes, such a party could even destroy the nation if it benefits them.

from:  Yashwanth P
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 23:29 IST

It's ironic that we are to believe in Ms. Roy and not the Supreme Court of India. The accused
was duly tried in court of law and punished. He might be a small fish in the whole conspiracy
nevertheless he was part of it. To say that the quantum of punishment is decided by the
Supreme Court Justices by media houses and public opinions is contemptuous.

from:  Vishwas sharma
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 23:09 IST

How can we say that India is fighting terrorism. Rajive gandhi as Prime Minister justified terrorist acts when he said that when a big tree falls the earth around it shakes. This was a clear justification to the killing of innocent persons in Delhi. Shame to all people who justify any sort of killing by the terrorists or the State or Judicial processes.

from:  Dilmohan Singh
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 23:06 IST

One of the most biased articles ever. Arundhati is guilty of the same that she is accusing the
nation of, presumption of guilt. She claims that the laptop was accessed after the arrest as if
that points to some wrong doing on the part of the police. Which Police force on earth would
get a laptop and then not access it. She then clams that the contents of the laptop are so clearly incriminating that's they must be planted. What proof does she have? Isn't she assuming the police planted the evidence and holding them guilty.
We know of her love of justice but a balanced article would mean she should have put forward instances of evidence that actually seemed valid and pointed to his guilt. This is not a debate that she must take a side.

from:  Aditya
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 23:04 IST

Such actions by the government make us realize how unsafe our democracy is for the powerless and insignificant amongst us. For all those rejoicing, you may be treated the same way the minute you fall out of line. Being a Kshmiri muslim is not a crime!

from:  raj
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 23:01 IST

Thanks to "THE HINDU" newspaper for printing such a eye opener article
because these days if you question or even think anything for the
persons who are held up on charges of terrorism , you are branded as an
Anti national, Desh drohi etc..So lot of people are actually pretending
with what majority has to say by saying that they are happy that a
Kashmiri was hanged, even though they deep inside their heart that it
was wrong.

from:  Mohammed Arif
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 22:45 IST

If there were only a handful of people who thought like the respectable
Arundhati Roy, India would a better place to live in for sure.
"The cup of blood is overflowing but its still not enough to quench the
thirst."

from:  rutba maqsood
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 22:35 IST

Hello to every one
Electoral politics played a crucial role in decision to execute Afzal Guru. There was not sufficient evidence of Afzals involvement in Parliament attack in 2001. Hanging of Afzal Guru is a big blot on democratic set up that can never be washed.
Afzal’s family including his wife and son were not informed about the execution. Dead body of Afzal should be handed over to his family for last rites, which is serious violation of basic human rights.We still lack democratic resilience and tolerance. Hanging infact given short relief to the extremist wings of country but the overall result is harmful for national integrity. Afzal was Kashmiri muslim and that is one major reason that all political fronts of India celebrated the execution.

from:  Ishrat Naveed
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 21:57 IST

As Arundhati Roy has rightly argued, there was no counter-evidence
being allowed against Afzal's involvement in the 2001 parliament
attack and also there were no lawyers provided to him. To satisfy the
so-called collective conscience of the people in general and the
political parties, a helpless man and may be an innocent man from
Jaish-e-Muhammad militant group of Kashmir was hanged till death. And
also, the hanging of Afzal without his family members being informed
and the body buried in the Tihar jail without being handed over to his
family members to perform the last rituals is indeed is a very unfair
and sad thing.

from:  PRASHANT REDDY
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 21:45 IST

I see nothing wrong in Arundhati Roy's Argument. I'm against Capital punishment on principle but behind this particular case & capital punishment I see only politics of one up man ship.
I also appreciate the comments made earlier.

from:  Dipak Kumar Bhattacharya
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 21:42 IST

To hang a man, we must be 100% sure of the guilt, because death is irreversible. Not sure if it is 100% in the case of Guru.
Not sure if the entire case file is online, but if available, I would like to read it and decide myself.

from:  Periasamy Sankar
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 21:32 IST

The worrying fact for indian people is that they have got a shameful
bunch of people in their Judiciary system. Leave aside the murder of
innocent person,(based on too much loopholes in this case presented by
Ms Arundhati)the question is why was the indian Govt. unable to nab the
real culprits. R.I.P Mr. Guru

from:  Jahangir
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 21:15 IST

This is a another shameful day for Indian democracy and judicial
system.Like Afzal Guru there are thousands of people are incarcerated. Muslims are the easiest of the preys.
The collective conscience is the creation of media and politics.In India the judiciary will go as per this built conscience.In future judges should go on a referendum and deliver justice on the majority decision.
I applaud Arundati for her yearning for justice and for bringing the truth that can be passed to the future generations.

from:  Nasar
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 21:15 IST

One more time the Congress government just to satisfy the opposition
criticism has killed an human being? Similar to Kasab, there was no
judicial review of the Presidents Clemency Rejection, which should
have done as per the law. If the Government can hang anyone like this
in full secrecy, what is the need for elections or People's verdict?
There is already an case pending against the Supreme Court about the
long time taken for the President to decide on the mercy petitions
thereby punishing the convict twice. Incidentally Afzal Guru name is
on that list, if suppose SC rules in favor of Afzal Guru, can they
bring his life back?
Nobody should be killed like this in secrecy in the future, no more killing by the state not in my name!!!.

from:  Srinivasan Iyer
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 21:13 IST

I happen to remember the few words of a former Chief Justice of India who in his interaction with school kids had said "We may not always be right but what we say is final that is why we are the Supreme Court" As a citizen of this country I feel I should abide by and respect the Supreme Court's decision.
A similar sort of argument as being impressed upon through this article was put forth by like minded intellectuals on the days leading up to the hanging of Dhananjay Chatterjee in 2004 who because of a very poor background and strong negative public opinion could not manage a proper defence for himself. Debates continued after his execution on issues like 'Legal defence for a poor and unpopular accused person','Inordinate delay in implementation of death penalty' and 'Abolition of Death Penalty'. The points worth debating then and now are the same and any other debate especially on the facts of the case is just an endless distraction and an attempt more in complicating the matter.

from:  Nishith
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 20:53 IST

Mr. S. N. Dhingra Ex. Justice awarded death sentence to three out of four accused, but High court make it two out of three who were awarded death sentence by him. Later on Two Justices of Supreme Court converted death sentence of one to Life Imprisonment. Afzal Guru was the only one who has been hanged. What it shows? Mr. Dhingra trial judge did not apply his judicial mind in the matter of three accused out of four accused. Trial was held by him not by the High Court or Supreme Court of India. Afzal Guru did not get mercy even by the President of India because the Two Justices swayed by the Collective conscience of the society to be satisfied if he was hanged. The President has been given power under Article 72 of The Constitution of India as the last authority to decide whether a contemnor should be hanged or not. The power of the President could not be taken by the flimsy observation by the judiciary. The observation "collective conscience of society" should not have been used.

from:  Pardeep k. Gupta
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 20:44 IST

Its nice to know that there still exist some people out there who can
follow the intricacies of the case on their own and come up with
follies that judges of lower court, high court and supreme court have
made while giving decisions in favor of prosecution, most probably
under pressure from government and public opinion. I think we again
need to look into the way our judges in judiciary are selected because
time and again they have given sub standard decision, as in this case.
Thanks Ms Roy for going through the case details so thoroughly and
helping people like us, who are really suffering from time crunch, to
make us aware of the incompetence of our judges.

from:  Ram Manohar Rai
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 19:51 IST

This is essentially as sensational as the 9/11 case. 9/11 can be
safely termed the crime of the century and there is a lot of online
evidence proving that it's post crime investigations had been
extremely lousily handled. This is very similar to the attack on the
parliament. And even this apparently, as Ms Roy claims, has been
unsatisfactorily handled.
This post however opens up my mind regarding this case in specific and
regarding the broader question as to how the state turns the machinery
onto its own subjects to have its way and bends and corrodes it like
the Indian & American Democracies have witnessed in these specific
crimes. I wonder how many more such cases exist!

from:  Raghav Mishra
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 19:31 IST

Ms Roy , it's like reading my own thoughts in more powerful representation through your
mighty pen. My heartiest congratulation for such a brilliant article after what I have been
reading in other major dailies since this hanging , merely depicting the so called collective
conscience of nation which in my opinion nothing but a deep rooted hatred for Muslims.
People like you MS Roy keep our faith and love for India floating.

from:  Dr Khalid m saifullah
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 19:12 IST

I always like Ms Arundhati Roy's unbiased, courageous and objective
approach in speaking the truth with her mighty pen. I don't have any
knowledge of the finer details of the case but even non living matters
are gifted with the sense to understand the intention of love and
hatred; association and aggression; attraction and deprivation;
assimilation and isolation etc. But i fell to understand why the
people of an integrated part of this greatest democracy are cut off
and blacked out of essential services of mass communication? What
agony innocent people might be suffering from because of not getting
any well being messages from their relatives, parents, brothers,
sisters and family sitting away from them? Oh my Lord save all of us
from all sorts of evils we harbor in us and devils that dwells around
us?

from:  Haji Muhammad A Ali
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 18:45 IST

An excellent article !!! I salute the author for such an scholarly
article highlighting the issues with crystal-clarity. Kudos to the Hindu
editorial board for publishing the article. Rajeev

from:  Rajeev Kumar
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 18:39 IST

Well as far as the correct approach to Judge a case is concerned, i agree it was correct... But on the other hand, as expressed by Miss Roy, if the facts are correct, the judgement was biased... I always believed that the supreme court ruling never goes partial. They proved me wrong.

So here we have another story which proves that our Dictionaries really need to change the meaning of Democracy!

from:  Harsiddhi
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 18:34 IST

If one believes Arundhati - there is NO reason not to do so - there
were/are many unanswered questions. For ordinary guys like this
writer: the greater tragedy is the Indian criminal justice system.
Simply put: the trust and real jurisprudence are missing. Plenty of
holes, plenty of inconsistencies and in particular, the justice system
in the various HCs are in real mess (all that we have to do is to keep
a file on their judgements/reasons and look at the inconsistencies
even within a short time cycle). Another missing infn is about the
police guys and others killed in that incident, incl. suffering
endured by their families. I see no hope of our justice system
improves so long as we continue with the kind of democracy, with
Parliament has no real deliberative function except keeping its
canteen with good food.

from:  V.Muthuswami
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 18:26 IST

Definitely the hanging of Afzal Guru, is a travesty of justice. From the beginning with his arrest till his hanging, there are so many unanswered questions. I feel Afzal Guru was hanged by the press and the politicians when he was arrested and convicted on evidence which cannot stand strict judicial scrutiny. As we cannot give back life if we find out the truth latter, death penalty should be abolished. In USA there are hundreds of cases where the persons who were convicted of death penalty, were found to be innocent at a latter date. India should abolish death penalty.

from:  S S Subramanian
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 18:24 IST

If what has been stated by Arundhati Roy is factually correct, then one wonders whether Afzal Guru should have been executed. Despite being part of the conspiracy, since he was not on the scene of the attack, he should have been spared the death penalty and probably given a life sentence till death. Equity and justice and not politics should have been the determining criterion. The BJP probably based their demand of the death penalty just because the incident took place during their regime despite their 'strong' Loha purush Home Minister and poor intelligence reporting. We also seem to have a double standard in trying to avoid the extreme penalty in the case of the Rajiv Gandhi assassins. THis is also poor reflection on our judicial system. To make the issue devoid of humanity, the family of the Afzal Guru should have been allowed to meet him before his execution unless he did not want to meet them. The elecronic media's role on this issue is also deplorable.

from:  S.N.Iyer
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 18:19 IST

India needs more ARUNDHATI ROYs. Thanks to Thehindu for publishing such
articles.

from:  Syed Abdullah Shah
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 18:09 IST

If the Court appointed lawyer did not do his job, Afzal had the option
to ask for a change of lawyer.Did he ? Was that denied ?Also I think
Ms.Roy has glossed over crucial evidence of Azal having arranged for
accommodation for one of the terrorists, Mohammed,in Delhi and other
crucial bits of evidence. Lastly our Courts are known to give the
benefit of doubt where evidence is lacking. If it did so in the case
of S.R.Geelani there was no reason for it to convict Afzal unless
there was evidence enough.Ms.Roy is mistaken in her belief.

from:  R.Hari
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 17:59 IST

Arundhati Roy's article is not surprising.Her views on various matters
are well known.Through her powerful presentation,she is suggesting,nay
seeking to establish, that the hanging was not as per the due process
of law.She is questioning the collective wisdom of many. Powerful
speakers, writers,poets,dramatists etc can make you believe what they
convey.Let her not think that Indians are blood thirsty.I wish someone
well versed in legal matters rebut her fallacies

from:  S.Srinivasan
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 17:49 IST

Our democracy is run by 'dictatorship of the mediocrity' so is our 'collective consciousness'. This democracy is flawed. Majority is a number game which can be manipulated. A majoritarian rule would naturally lead to oppression of the minor. Why did we choose this form of democracy in the first place for a country as vast and diverse as India?
Time to look forward to a 'democracy of consensus' (sahamat and not bahumat)... a partyless democracy

from:  Amlan
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 17:46 IST

Don't call it a "perfect day in democracy". It was simply a day in
Indian democracy, marking an event that could have taken place long long
ago. The Government took the step after many calculations that related,
I believe, to the public reaction on one hand and political mileage that
it could bring to the major ruling party (not UPA!) on the other. The
secrecy involved is not understandable to me.

from:  Yogendra Joshi
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 17:25 IST

that last line....

Thank you for writing this , Ms. Roy

from:  Dr. Manasee Palshikar
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 17:25 IST

India is a democracy where everyone including Arundhati Roy can express his/ her opinion. My point it has been proved beyond doubt that Afjal Guru was connected with the terrorist attack on parliament may be remotely, so he deserves the highest punishment according to the land of law. He was the only culprit who was awarded death, further strengthen our belief in the independence of judiciary. The execution was delayed for more than a decade which provided ample opportunity for intellectuals like Ms Roy to get their doubts clarified from judiciary. Now, once he has been executed, which is irreversible, there is no point in extending the debate, which may further create the gulf in the society. We should look at how to strengthen the the trust of valley people in the politico-judicial system of the country.

from:  Rohit Dev Jha
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 17:15 IST

thank you Ms Roy for speaking out for justice !

from:  omar jamal
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 17:12 IST

I am fully agree with Arundhati .
This hanging is for votes and nothing .

from:  salil dixit
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 16:58 IST

For anyone with eyes and mind open, the killing of Afzal Guru is a travesty of
democracy, justice and humanity. The Indian state stands exposed – or it should be.
We must all speak now before we are silenced forever…

from:  Joanna
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 16:55 IST

How long should we live to see the success of the real democracy in India, where there will be equality of justice to all.I do not understand why a person was hung for the sake of " collective conscience". If a group of people conspired behind this case for political or some other motives, a time will come in such people's lives with scruples. Until then, let us read and debate over the matter, which might lead to the prick of conscience of the collective conscience.

from:  Abdul Rahim Cherattil
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 16:51 IST

The author has quoted a bits and bytes without showing the entire holistic view. But we must understand Guru was not murdered, he was given the trial as per law of land and then punished. Whether Guru was given a proper trial or there were human right violations are matters of debate, but one thing is clear the decision was taken as per Indian laws and in this case Supreme court also approved the decision.

from:  Prajesh
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 16:41 IST

There are too many mysteries surrounding the Afzal Guru case, too many unanswered questions, too many leaps of faith...for all we know we have sent an innocent man to his death. I hope and pray that we haven't. But if we have indeed done so, I shudder to think of the consequences...will there be any absolution for us as a people?

from:  Nabanita
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 16:02 IST

I wonder if the world/India feels safer now that Mohd Afzal aspiring doctor, and a loving father of Ghalib and husband of Tabassum, is dead. As for myself, I feel profound sense of sorrow, shame and pain. Mr. Pranab Mukherjee has the dubious distinction of presiding over two deaths by hanging within a year of becoming a president. Mr. President: Sleep soundly. Sweet dreams. Ms. Roy: More power to your pen.

from:  Nityanand Jayaraman
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 16:00 IST

I endorse the comment made in the post by Daniel Mohanty "I would appreciate it if the Hindu sought and published the opinions of eminent lawyers on the case, especially the points raised by Ms Roy."

from:  Subramaniam
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 13:52 IST

I think Ms Roy got it right this time. Yet another "achievement" by
the UPA Government. Is this another example of the dictum "You can
fool most of the people all the time and all the people most of the
time"?

from:  DR.R.VENKATARAMAN
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 13:33 IST

We live in a large and tumultuous democracy - no doubt about that.
But, in order to survive, we do need to put some stakes in the ground.
Ms. Roy points out the anomalies regarding facts in the case. But, the
case has been examined by three levels of our judiciary system, MHA
and the President. I am not saying that all this proves the guilt of
Afzal Guru beyond doubt. What I am saying is our democracy has run its
due course, and the verdict was given following due course.

We have a huge opportunity of improving our democracy, and making it
more transparent, mature and robust. But, I am tired of being beaten
up as a citizen (collective conscience, blood lust etc.) in matters
that, to me, we need not agonize over.

Jai Hind.

from:  Ernie
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 13:31 IST

Once again Ms. Roy proves herself to be the voice of reason. Kudos to you Ma'am.

from:  Shourav
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 13:26 IST

The "collective conscience" of any nation is very comfortable seeing things in black and white.Unfortunately, even black and white reverse when the perspective changes - what to say of the grays which confront us in every situation. All our rights and wrongs are based on which side of the border we are on, what religion or caste we had the fortune to be born into, even which side of the timeline we are on. In the current case, Afzal Guru's guilt, or the lack of it, was of no consequence. Executing him was the need of the hour and it benefited most political groups. We throw away many lives for small gains, some tribals who come in the way of development plans, soldiers sent to die unsung and unhonoured in a military misadventure which has no benefits, internecine strife ignited for electoral gains... Afzal was one more sacrificial goat. As long as it isn't me!

from:  Jayadevan
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 12:41 IST

If you read Azfal's wife's story about the tortures meted out to this poor individual
who made a mistake for enrolling in one of the terror outfits but quit as he realized
he was on the wrong path, from electric shocks to his private parts and what not, any
human being would confess to anything. This is a sad sad day in Human History
where one has put to death possibly and innocent man, while many criminal
politicians are still rollicking about scot free.

from:  angela alvares
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 12:40 IST

What can possibly serve as a deterrence against terrorists, terrorisim and heineus crimes against an individual, a society and a nation, IF NOT CAPITAL PUNISHMENT?

from:  Clement Stephen
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 11:57 IST

May be what Arundhati Roy is saying hint us to the fact that there were
flaws while carrying out the judgement. But then doubting the
conviction means having doubt in our country's judicial system and the
decisions of Supreme Court. So, is it acceptable to doubt the highest
judicial authority's decision?

from:  murari garg
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 11:31 IST

India, which is facing a constant threat of terrorism, nurtured and exported from across the border need to have capital punishment in the statute book. Terrorists whose victims are almost always innocent people, do not deserve any mercy. The acts of terrorists are far more barbaric than capital punishment executed after going through the due process of law with utmost care. It is foolish to argue that capital punishment does not serve as a deterrent, as some people do

from:  Govind Kutty
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 11:26 IST

I guess he was remotely connected with the attack on the parliament at
least. I guess that's more than enough for him to be hanged. Why shall
we even be devil's advocate here. Attack on India's Parliament is attack
on every Indian's home and if the attack's gonna be so brutal and
ghastly then I guess we have all rights to take up action against the
criminals.

from:  Prabhat Kumar
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 11:24 IST

The inconsistencies in the evidence pointed out by Arundhati Roy are
disturbing. I had read them in the article she wrote for Outlook many
years ago. When the government delayed the execution for so long, I
had imagined that they too had concerns about the evidence. Leaving
aside the question of his guilt or innocence, I too was dismayed the
blood lust displayed in some quarters.

I am no legal expert. But it appears to me that when the appellate
court exonerated some of the accused, they would have evaluated the
evidence against Afzal too. The fact that they upheld the sentence
suggests that the case against him was not all that flimsy. I would
appreciate it if the Hindu sought and published the opinions of
eminent lawyers on the case, especially the points raised by Ms Roy.

from:  Daniel S Mahanty
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 11:20 IST

7 Years (may be I am wrong but 1 month of solitary is inhumane) of solitary imprisonment and at last hang until death. And this is for a person whose crime has not been established decisively. Afzal Guru himself requested to hang himself. And the nation (nation means TV channels, political leadership across all parties, religious fanatics) is celebrating the death. This is the perfect way to show how patriotic you are.

The judgment of the court can be criticised again and again. Definitely the decision should be obeyed to maintain discipline in the society but at the same time the educationists, progressive peoples, authors, intellectuals should raise their voice to check if we are waliking in the backward direction.

Thanks Arundhati

from:  Aniruddha
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 11:18 IST

@RVSelvam

you say: "If he has been accorded due process of law right upto the
mercy petition and various arms of the government have been involved in the process and the highest court of the land had passed the verdict, then u have to believe that justice has been done."

If you had bothered to read the article by Ms. Roy, you would have read this - "Afzal Guru, locked in a high security solitary cell, had no lawyer. The court-appointed junior lawyer did not visit his client even once in jail, he did not summon any witnesses in Afzal’s defence and did not cross examine the prosecution witnesses. The judge expressed his inability to do anything about the situation."

Does that sound like 'due process' to you? Wake up and smell the rot buddy. Next time heed the message, instead of hating the messenger.

from:  Nagrik
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 11:10 IST

If a person is hanged, shouldn't his complicity in the crime be
established beyond all doubts ? Is circumstantial evidence enough for
the same ? Wouldn't this fact be well publicised so that no laymen
have any doubt that he committed such a grave crime ? In this case the
person had surrendered and was reporting to the police on a weekly
basis. If he is still accused of such a grave crime, isn't the mistake
more of the rehabilitating agencies and the the information bureau ?
Has any steps been taken against these officers ?

from:  PK Satish
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 11:04 IST

Someone here commented about how the western society would put a
'bullet through his head' and how our democracy gave him a 'fair
trial',heard of Andres Behring Brevik ever Miss ? The man who
massacred 100 lives in Norway and was caught in the act not some
convoluted diabolical circumstantial evidence.There are two finer
point in this debate ; 'collective conscience ' of the nation , which
frankly is absent as we take part in this orgy of happiness in the
death of another man. Secondly, how true were the claims and the
evidences leading to due process of law? What is the plight of
surrendering terrorists in Kashmir? I guess it's more complicated than
what you watch on television while having your dinner.
And yes someone won , not democracy as the Greeks meant it .

from:  Aritra
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 11:04 IST

madam,

Afzal himself admitted that he was part of conspiracy and how he
coordinated the attack. He was very forthcoming in saying that money too
was one of his motives. This being the case what are we discussing here?
We wouldn't think like this if one of our family members was killed in
the attack. Let's not become too sensitive for a terrorist's death.

from:  Deepak
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 10:48 IST

The article throws enough doubt on the conviction of Afzal Guru as the mastermind of the Parliament attack, using public data. The contamination of evidence is shoddy (not sequestering the disk drives), and the inconsistencies in the evidence, combined with the torture claims, should have set aside the conviction.

I am curious about an expression Ms Roy uses, 'papal passion.' I have heard of the 'purple passion' which includes an alcoholic grape beverage and an unmentionable part of the anatomy. But how did the Pope get into a passion over Afzal Guru?

from:  Joe Cleetus
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 10:44 IST

And unfortunately, we may not build a healthy debate here because the whole kashmir
is locked down in curfew, they don't watch News because its blanked out and they
can't comment because internet is barred. We'll all have to figure out the truth
ourselves.

from:  Sameer
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 10:37 IST

Tribes like Arundahthi Rai should understand ,
Justice (or rather in-justice ) is enjoyed more by big criminals in our country . They along with their political peers fight for the elusive non existing justice till the last moment .It remains a fact thousands of truly innocents or men who committed petty crimes (as small as throwing a stone on crowd )are longing in deep corridors of our jails .
It does not require Harvard brains to know common men finds himself on the other side of justice in every walk of live .
It is totally misplaced argument by modern day saviors of human rights when they cry out for a criminal . In fact their fights strengthens the force against democracy .
This is only country , in this world probably spend millions for rights of criminals and kick the common men on streets . It is also very unfortunate , media also has grossly failed to identify this misplaced priority.
India is great democracy agreed . But it can not be taken for granted . Minor aberration and less-democratic acts are sometimes required to sustain and protect the larger institution of democracy of the nation .
The criminal justice dogma of our country says Innocent until proven guilty ie “Many criminals may roam in the streets but not even one innocent to be punished” It is a myth . It is also flawed and does not carry any absolute meaning . Converting a innocent into criminal and a criminal into innocent lies in the oratory skills of few heavily paid legal teams , forged documents and the notoriously porous judicially system . In reality , risk of innocent being punished by these let out criminals is many fold higher .It pains us when the so called educated pseudo elites argue for these criminal’s right for justice !

from:  dr venkatesan sangareddi
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 10:26 IST

Judgement in most cases are based on the evidence submitted and evidence
against people like Afzal Guru (even minor) would indicate a close
connection to crime. If this connection was knowingly or not have to be
investigated upon thoroughly before taking up haste decisions for
hanging. Investigating agencies have to be given time to submit their
recommendations as only this would ensure a fair trial!(I always have
thoughts against capital punishment, people can get a chance to think
otherwise as well)

from:  Rajiv Sharma
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 10:16 IST

so ironical that,,,a convict had to wait for 10 years and we are
celeberating, we call it victory and balm for the victims. I call it an
immature and sluggish system marred by bureaucratic and administrative
flaws which are so deeply rooted that we all have accustomed to
that.Moreover the manner both the executions have taken place, have
besmirched our reputation on human rights ground.

from:  neeraj bhatt
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 10:13 IST

yes the collective concience of a decadent nation is insatiable, it is a bottomless pit. Our hunger for medieval justice has another victim. Our law enforcement is the most incompetant in the world in solving cases and a part of the problem than the solution. No one will ever know the truth behind the case, citizens are fed with misinformation and media doing its bit to embellish. The country is going to the dogs, thanks to our robust democracy where two parties vie to prove whose is the most jingoists of them. Long live democracy.

from:  Aswin
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 09:42 IST

Not shocking at all, saw this coming. Why did Ms. Roy wait for the execution to write this article? What happened to the shoddy investigation and political influences for the past twelve years? Why did this have to show up now, which is too late? Oh, just a little curious.

Ironically, as she bash the court and evidences she herself fails to provide any sort of facts/evidences to support her claims.

Strong rhetoric wouldn't make up for facts. It might boil our blood and quench our tendency to blame everything around. But logic?

This article is against the court of law. Not govt. This is against justice and the people. This is sheer disrespect for the people who died fighting the terrorists. And Afzal Guru is a terrorist and we have enough evidences for that. So let's not talk about his 'innocence'.

from:  Nikhil
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 09:40 IST

@Harish .. Dont forget that you are staying in India and we have every
right to speech atleast in these crucial affairs .. @ Anamika ... I
agree that many Indians still support Capital punishment, which our
founding fathers are completely against of . Change in mindset of
present generation and Learning India from its roots would help many
to get India's Ideals back and make india strong from its grassroots .
Kudos to Arundhati roy for presenting new cases but we never know what
is right .

from:  KSVM Koundinya
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 09:32 IST

Ms Roy is making it out to be a conspiracy of sorts. Thats a strech even for someone like me
who doesn't trust the system. If he has been accorded due process of law right upto the
mercy petition and various arms of the government have been involved in the process and
the highest court of the land had passed the verdict, then u have to believe that justice has
been done. As a well known human rights activist she may not agree with death penalty as a
legal punishment for a crime but then that's a separate discussion altogether. U can't
question and undermine the due process of law just because u don't like death penalty being
in the statute. By that u undermine the credibility of the highest court. We would lose all
hopes if it ultimately emerges that the whole system had been manipulated and the system
of justice subverted just to hang one non-descript individual called Afzal guru. I used to have
a lot of respect for Ms Roy as an activist but after this piece I have a little bit less.

from:  RVSelvam
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 09:30 IST

Yes, ms. Arundhathi, its not only a perfect day for democracy but also a victory for
democracy. Unlike western countries that would have finished off his life by putting a bullet
thro his head , my country gave him a chance to explain himself, the due process of law
was followed and now he has been executed. So now you go about spreading conspiracy
theories of someone at the highest level being involved. If that is so, what is stopping you
from naming them?? Do it for the nation, please.
India's decisiveness , I am sure, bothers and rattles people like you who would like to see it
remain a soft state and a soft target.

from:  Malathi
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 09:14 IST

I have greater faith in the checks and balances of the appeal system in the case death penalty than Ms. Roy's polemics. Afzal Guru had appealed for clemency through the various courts over many years and even supreme court has rejected his appeal. I feel justice has been done at long last even though UPA govt has acted more on political expediency due to 2014 general election.

from:  Suvojit Dutta
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 09:14 IST

A piece that is well written, interspersed with facts and challenges a shoddy investigation. Harish, the job of investigating the right facts is of the law enforcement agencies. But when we know that they haven't done it right or cut corners in putting up a suspect, we ought to question. Shouldn't we?

from:  Kartikeya
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 09:04 IST

I have studied the Mercy petition submitted by Afzal Guru to then President Shri.A.P.J.Abdul Kalam, while reading the same I could understand how the Police and the Political class can foist a case against any individual, my body was shivering, my blood was running hot. Today when I saw the message I feel pity for the family of Afzal Guru, I really pray for their well being. I am a staunch supporter of Hinduism and its ideology, but Afzal Guru is not the real perpetrator of this Parliment attack. He is innocent. Kudos to MS.Arundathi Roy and The Hindu Paper for publishing this article.

from:  Ganapathi
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 08:58 IST

Miscarriage of justice, today is the singular feature of our justice system, that the term justice is an anomaly, to be used along with our courts, prosecutorial offices and police. This case is one more example to this. I feel sorry for those who expected a different result in Afzal's case. We never attempted to create a rule of law framework. Instead we were riding the dead horse, and created a rule by fear.

from:  Bijo Francis
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 08:54 IST

In 2006, you asked Thirteen Questions on the Parliament Attack Case of
2001 Dec. Thousands of Indians outside Kashmir ,if not millions,continue
asking questions in their own ways. May be that 'the collective
conscience of the nation' in any meaningful sense resonates them in
umpteen ways.
Let these questions continue to be asked, no matter one might find it
too late..

from:  K M Venugoalan
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 08:50 IST

Here comes....someone did the planning, someone sponsored this operation. If you are such an intelligent reporter find the right culprit and makes believe or just shut up.

from:  Harish
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 07:39 IST

Policy of Divide and rule is the most destructive force used against the people by using tool of media. Most irrational and unjust act is peddled as essential for personal gain such as winning election or stealing oil etc. or dividing country into pieces. Nothing new in execution of rational thinking (remember execution of Socrates?). I have no comment about Afzal Guru because I have absolutely no knowledge about any evidence in the case. As usual Arundhati Roy's logic is irrefutable.

from:  Maya Ghose
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 07:03 IST

When I reacted against the capital punishment during kasav's hanging , people jumped on me on Facebook tagging me as anti-Indian , I have more than 4000 friends on FB , only two of them seconded me. This is our collective conscience.

from:  anamika bandopadhyay
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 07:00 IST

As usual, Arundathi hits the nail on the head. One of the rare voices of reason in present day India.

from:  Steven George
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 06:59 IST

She is a true Indian.

from:  Khan
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 06:45 IST

The trial court is wrong, the High court is wrong and the supreme court is wrong. Only our Ms Roy is right. If the courts are not to respected, why not disband them and let jungle raj or Roy raj prevail in this country. This piece at least tells us who was instrumental in this long delay. I pray for Guru's soul and God's blessings on Ms Roy.

from:  SAT GOEL
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 06:40 IST

In a country where millions die out of poverty and accidents, where terrorism has taken its toll on virtually everybody, we do not have the time or the high ground to concern ourselves with one man's death. Afzal was not an innocent man. Had it been the US, he would be have been killed in a drone strike. Individual justice does not triumph national security, in the rare case that Afzal was 'innocent'. India cannot afford it, not yet.

from:  Ashish
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 06:11 IST

So the queen of all sympathizer's is out again. Its really an absurd
comment that JUST on the basis of Afzal's comment India sent it's
troops across border, its certainly one of the proof. Madam all the time you come out in defense of such people who don't give a second thought before making heinous crime, why don't you come out with your own investigation in WHO ACTUALLY DID THIS CRIME OF PARLIAMENT ATTACK. Since its looks from your article you are good at that (journalism investigation), but don't come with a greasy conspiracy theory.

from:  Vineet Kumar Singh
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 06:09 IST

Afzal guru's case was not the rarest of the rare which deserves a capital punishment, is Indian politics capitalizing on its vote bank through this? ... this views are personal, sorry if i have hurt any ones sentiment .

from:  abhishek bose
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 06:02 IST

True to its title, it was indeed a perfect day for one of the best democracies the world has ever known. This act though acted up and brought into action by the police in Tihar jail, all of whom were a part of this, right from the Home Minister who has put forward a letter to the office of the President for the sabotage of the mercy petition, the President whom with all due respect made the decision in no time against the plea, the UPA Government who as a whole acted in the best interest of this country to the hangman in the jail who executed his job outright needs laudation. Let the message be loud and clear: Any human, race or mob acting against this country and perpetrating domestic violence would be dealt with in the same fashion. Truth be told, the United Nation's Declaration of Human Rights points out that, When the rights of any individual jeopardizes the collective rights of a large number of people, keeping in mind the collective rights, Law Enforcement comes to play to ensure

from:  Rajesh Tripurneni
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 05:54 IST

Ms.Roy, where do you vanish when the terrorists attack us? I don't recall any article critical of the innumerable Pakistani orchestrations on the Indian soil that has taken a horrible toll on the country. But you are so enthisiastic for these terrorists turning every stone possible to highlight a lapse or two.

from:  Srikanth Ranganathan
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 05:51 IST

This is one courageous piece of write-up, at a time when everyone except those in the valley are rejoicing a kind of instant-noodle catharsis. It doesn't seem to matter that the very people of J&K do not share the euphoria afflicted the rest of the nation, and yet we call J&K a part of our union..! If we can't share their sobriety, nor want to hear their feeble voices of protest, if we choose to drown all notes of dissent with our cacophony.. what right we have of calling kashmir as ours? We own the land, sure. But what of the people.. can we truly say that them and us are one.. ?

And to speak of the media... I don't even want to get started.

from:  S bajpai
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 05:25 IST

A very poorly written article. If I were to be expected to find out the facts which actually prove Afzal Guru's innocence in the case, I wasn't able to glean them from this article. Instead a lot of reverse psychology and one liners which are supposed to have the same impact as a one liner should have.

from:  Mike Martin
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 05:20 IST

This article is borderline if not actual contempt of the courts.
Criminal contempt.

from:  Ajay Kumar
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 05:02 IST

Interesting take. We need sane voices to keep our real conscience beating. However, this is the way things happen in high profile cases all over the world. For all the claim that America makes to be the bastion of democracy, they framed Saddam Hussain as the chief perpetrator of the 9/11 attacks and took him out...just to satisfy the collective conscience of the American society. Collective conscience, it seems, is a commodity that can be manipulated through clever means, as has been the case all through mankind's history

from:  Ajay
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 05:01 IST

Lets us agree to what ever this illustriuos author says about the loophole in court trial but we need to punish the perpetrator of this crime for the satisfaction of the family members of security personnel killed and collective conscience of Indians.I demand from Ms Roy to bring that person in front of us otherwise believe the highest Judicial body which has given its verdict. We can not just be the victim of terrorism- that is not an option we have to act.

from:  Prakash
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 05:00 IST

This one article has changed my complete perception of the trail of this case. I have always been of the opinion that the trail was a very fair one. Incidentally this piece, which I admire very much, came from the author whose opinions I have always disagreed very fiercely. But today I am very thankful to the author for such an eye-opening piece. I cant believe that Supreme Court actually said those words on the day it sentenced Afjal Guru. It is very right to ask the same question today. 'Has our collective conscience been satisfied now? Or is our cup
of blood still only half full?'

from:  Kusy
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 03:56 IST

True representation of HUMANITY-------- what more?

from:  Fida Iqbal
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 03:23 IST

Even if the narrative by an accomplished author is accurate other basic relevant aspects matter. First, terror or underlying conspiracies are detrimental to any state, especially democratic. While doubts about death sentence and its deterrence value matter, concern regarding victims of the crime and future victims of similar crimes matter too. It must be recognized that no judicial system is perfect and while attempting to refine and improve it the due process associated with it is of primal importance. From Ms. Roy's narrative it is unclear how, after the dozen years of the case, due process was subverted. A very pragmatic argument involving political peace and stability advanced by Ms. Mufti of the PDP - Kashmir is the most serous, the overall confidence in the state to protect the the nation and the citizenry from terror and conspiracies deserve at least equal consideration.

from:  Govind Mudholkar
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 03:21 IST

This sounds like a conspiracy theory when a videotaped interview with afzal guru is on youtube accepting and describing his role in the attacks. Ofcourse, conspiracy theorists can extend the logic to any extent and then claim even that all confessions of such kind were induced/forced out of him. if there were lapses in the way trial was carried out - its one thing to point that out, but quite another to raise doubts about veracity of the person's guilt.

from:  vinayak
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 03:14 IST

The loopholes that are taken up by arundhati roy in our judicial and police system as well as how the investigation is manupilated is of great concern.the contradictory statements given by the witness and the the prosecution are giving a sign of illegality.

from:  ashraf
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 03:12 IST

Predictability is a welcome thing in this era of uncertainty -- the article is full of drivel with plenty of assumed knowledge, justice and piety.

from:  Jay Ravi
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 03:08 IST

This seems to be a pretty damning indictment of the entire law enforcement and judicial mechanism in this country. Based on this article and as a laymen, I am concluding that Afzal Guru has been made a fall guy.I am waiting to read someone who rebuts this article and find the holes in Ms. Roy's arguments.

@sachi_bbsr

from:  Sachi Mohanty
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 03:04 IST

Nice article indeed!. Though I frequently disagree with a number of Ms. Roy's opinions, I think that she hit the nail on the head in this article. Indeed, Hon Justice Reddy's (the later Chairperson of the Law Commission!!) observation of the need to placate the 'collective consciousness', at that time, left me speechless. It is a blot on the SC's otherwise excellent record.
That Afzal Guru was just a political tool was never in doubt. With Modi's frontrunner status as PM candidate becoming clearer, and their secularism card not gaining votes, Congress decided to sacrifice the pawn to improve the Yuvraj's chances.
Even so, the shabby forensic work and tinkering of evidence by investigating agencies aside, it cannot be argued unequivocally that Mr. Guru was innocent of the crime. But this case is a good example why replacing capital punishment with life without parole makes sense - it keeps alive the option to reapply the principles of natural justice, however late.

from:  Karthik Rajasekaran
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 02:58 IST

Why does she never talk about the interview of Guru in 2006 given to NDTV where he openly confessed about the attack and had also discussed the plan. He was already convicted by Supreme Court. No more testimony had to be taken that he would have lied.

from:  Mohit Singh
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 02:55 IST

Well this article is an eye opener. Something wrong with our system? Will the courts answer?

from:  Redman
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 02:34 IST

When you say that there was a pile of lies and fabricated evidence, please be specific. Before doubting the integrity of the courts and the police, please come up with justifications for the accusations. Even if you are able to bring up a few points that prevent the case from being an open and shut case, it does not prove his innocence. Forget about everything else, but please spare a thought for the men who lost their lives guarding democracy and the family they left behind. It's my earnest request not to advocate such men. It will not help the judicial system of the country.

from:  Prashant Srivastava
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 02:30 IST

The newspaper needs to be applauded for publishing, as expected from Arundhati Roy, non-conventional views. The article throws into the dark dungeons, where justice loses its sight, often. For us, the masses- aam aadmi, it is so difficult to form onions based on secondary discourses! Whom do we trust? The haranguing media or writers who often resort to falsehood? Ms.Roy, has the rare courage of having her readers pucker heir brows with every subsequent revelation. We need more of such inimical articles where fact is stated with assertion. In the end justice is subjective and so shall it be.

from:  Upasana Bose
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 02:29 IST

Shocking really shocking. There always is two sides to a story and as Ms Roy has pointed out, the version from the victims sides were never said. Or was it? Was it said and fearing the fury it may cause, the authorities, whoever it was, concealed it? What Ms Roy has said stems from her conviction, nay her knowledge that Afzal Guru was falsely implicated. If so, who are the real perpetrators here? What has really happened here? Sadly, the hard reality is that it may never be known. Its failure of democratic principle of human right if a government gives in to the sentiments of its citizens, utilizes it to their advantage by pulling up some stunt, ignoring their real duty. Again sadly, from the context described here, there is no real way to know whether they did their duty or pulled a fake.

from:  Arun Chembilath
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 02:20 IST

Looks like majority of our collective conscience has been satisfied.

from:  Harischandra Rao
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 02:14 IST

The author has missed the fact that even former ISI chief Lt. General Javed Ashraf Qazi admitted in front of Pak Parliament that Pak based JeM was involved in attack on Indian Parliament. So, to try to claim that no Pakistanis were involved in the attack dents the credibility of the rest of argument of Miss Roy.

from:  Naveen Kumar
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 02:07 IST

I am usually a critique of Arundhati Ji, but in this case i completely
agree, I feel this was political,
And i don't beleive that the conscious of any country seeks blood, if
it seeks blood then its not our conscious its just a revenge to
satisfy our mind.And Judgement cannot be given to satisfy revenge,
even if that is for an entire country. And what have we achieved by
doing this, the jihadis living in Kashmir or all over the world just
got another martyr.
If Afsal guru had died during the parliament attack i would have felt
no remorse,and even in the case of Kasab I felt that sentence was the
best we could do to him,But in this case as an Indian my conscious
feels remorse!!

from:  Dinoop R Menon
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 02:02 IST

I understand the spirit of this article. I know that the devil is always in the details.
But I am not so sure that people are going to appreciate or even try to understand this perspective. Such is our times.

from:  Jay
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 01:59 IST

Pile it on arundhati. If this does not wipe the glee of the faces of this macabre crowd nothing
will. Shoddy investigation, blind trails, wrong suspects, acquittals, this sordid episode has all
the ingredients of a bad soap, but at the end of the day we have a dead man. Collective
conscience does not include mine, the learned lordships should have known better rather
than giving in to those baying for blood. Till today we have no real answers to what really
happened on that day, who the conspirators and who the perpetrators were, unfortunately
we will never know. The BJP wanted a face saving exit and who else but a Kashmiri for the
scapegoat? Forget for a movement the abhorrence of the death penalty, hanging a man
purely on questionable circumstantial evidence is a travesty of justice. Even more repungent
is the fact that he has had such a undignified burial. Where is our humanity?

from:  Arvind
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 01:59 IST

In Democracy, Judiciary has to give judgements in fair manner without any favor or fear.Since the supreme court has ordered death sentence to Afzal Guru we cant question the judgement no matter what TV channels show or the facts given by the author show. Indeed its a perfect day for Indian democracy as it has proved once again that, terrorism wont be tolerated by the people of India.

from:  Akshobhya Guttal
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 01:58 IST

It is commendable on the part of The Hindu to have decided to publish
this article. It has been one of the worst days in the history of post-
Independence India. For the second time, a cowardly government has
stealthily carried out an execution.
It was bad enough that Ajmal Kasab, the only Pakistani captured after
the 2008 attacks in Bombay, was stealthily hanged without a public
debate last November. It is far worse that the Kashmiri Afzal Guru was
hanged on the morning of 9 February 2013 following his highly
questionable conviction over the 2001 attack on the Indian parliament.
Many eminent lawyers, scholars and journalists have written extensively,
pointing out gaping holes in the entire trial and appeal process as well
as the rejection of petitions to the president of India on Afzal Guru’s
behalf. They include senior lawyers Nandita Haksar and Indira Jaisingh,
writers Arundhati Roy, Praful Bidwai and Nirmalangshu Mukherji.

from:  N. Jayaram
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 01:39 IST

Really seems to be an eye-opener...but difficult to believe.

from:  Ravi Malik
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 01:39 IST

reality will remain in shadow which even looks bleak on the equatorial
face of the biggest democracy.real perpetrators will now sleep in sigh
and forever.still hoping out of hope that they break the shackles and
come to know the truth (land of BAPU, good he is not here anymore to see
this RAMRAJYA)

from:  jitender singh
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 01:27 IST

Indeed a great advertisement for the civilising influence of democracy. As if the barbaric act of hanging was not bad enough, the act was sancitifed by a judicial system which appeared indifferent to allegations of torture to extract confession.

from:  S.P.Chakravarty
Posted on: Feb 10, 2013 at 01:17 IST
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