National Conference hits back at the Kashmir Bar Association for alleging it connived with Centre in Afzal Guru’s hanging

Facing criticism that he had not acted in good faith in Afzal Guru’s execution, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s National Conference (NC) has hit back at Kashmir’s High Court Bar Association and contended that the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front militant’s death sentence in the Parliament attack case was the consequence of his being “defenceless” at the trial court.

NC spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq on Saturday termed the High Court Bar Association’s allegations as “unprincipled and unethical”, and claimed it was the lawyers association that was to blame.

“The Bar Association is trying to absolve itself of its complicity in the death of Afzal Guru,” the NC spokesman said. “Leave aside what NC has or hasn’t done. That is a matter on which people have pronounced judgement in successive elections. The people deserve to know where these great lawyers that make up the bar were when Afzal Guru wasn’t receiving proper representation and had to rely on an amicus curiae appointed by the courts.”

“They didn’t want to give up the income of their practice to give Guru a decent defence; they didn’t even want to contribute towards the fees of a decent lawyer so while the accused represented by Ram Jethmalani and Shanti Bhushan are alive, Afzal Guru is not” Mr. Sadiq asserted. While claiming that Mr. Guru failed to get a defence counsel at the trial court and, consequently, was had been left stuck with to the mercy of an apathetic uninterested amicus curie, Mr. Sadiq said: “It is widely believed that if Guru had received proper representation at the trial stage, he may still have been alive today”.

“Crocodile tears”

Mr. Sadiq alleged that the HCBA, an organisation espousing the separatist cause and having served as a constituent of the undivided Hurriyat Conference from 1993 to 2003, was “shedding crocodile tears” on Mr. Guru’s execution. The outfit, according to him, had “let down” Mr. Guru and “failed to defend him…until they accept their own complicity, all this other talk of theirs is just guilt-induced nonsense.”