Nearly five years before his execution at Delhi’s Tihar Jail for the December 13, 2001, terrorist strike on Parliament, Afzal Guru purportedly justified the attack in a letter to the editor of an Urdu weekly in Srinagar.
Writing by hand, Afzal took objection to Hizbul Mujahideen chief Syed Salahuddin’s dismissal of the Parliament attack as a “conspiracy,” declaring that if that were so, “the entire Kashmir militancy is a conspiracy.”
Though he received Afzal’s letter in 2008, Qaumi Wiqaar editor Shabnam Qayoom says he avoided publishing it as he strongly believed Afzal had written it “in utter frustration.” “I believed he was innocent and was simply claiming something that he had not committed. Now that he is dead, I published the letter,” he told The Hindu on Tuesday. Mr. Qayoom is the author of several pro-Azadi books and has been holding the Indian security forces responsible for “custodial rapes and murders” in Kashmir.
Mr. Qayoom claimed that he had never met Afzal. “He seemed to have seen my weekly in jail and decided to communicate his reaction to the Hizb chief through me. I received the letter through ordinary mail in 2008 and preserved it.”
Afzal’s cousin, Yasin Guru, confirmed that the letter published by the weekly was in his own hand-writing. “Many people asked me about its authenticity. I acquired a copy of the weekly and found that it was definitely his handwriting,” he said.
In his letter, Afzal says Kashmir’s “resistance movement” would continue “as long as India persisted with its bloodshed” in the valley. “We should never feel ashamed of December 13. When the Indians, who have turned Kashmir into a graveyard, spilled the blood of our innocent people, made a garrison of every nook and corner of the valley, are not feeling ashamed of it all and calling Kashmir as India’s part in breach of their own promises and commitments, why should we feel ashamed [of the attack on Parliament]?” reads his communication addressed to the Hizb chief through the weekly’s editor.
“When the Indian rulers are not ashamed of breaching their own promises, reinstating the military officers and government officials involved in the [Srinagar] sex scandal, flouting all the tenets of democracy, freedom of expression and peaceful protest, why should we be ashamed of December 13 ?” he asks. The Hizb chief, according to him, had belittled the attack on Parliament by dismissing it as “conspiracy” in his statements and interviews in Pakistan.
“If December 13 has hit them in their heart, who is to be accountable for the blows and the wounds the tyrant and occupying Indian forces have inflicted on the hearts of the Kashmiris? I believe it would be our cowardice, infidelity and treason to forget the indignity these people have caused to our elders, sisters and daughters,” Afzal added. According to him, only the “blasts at public places” were the acts of terror that one could be ashamed of. He did not count the Indian Parliament as an ‘awaami jagah’ [public place].
“Something you feel ashamed of after saying or doing it is essentially wrong. Something you feel constrained to hide is always wrong and unjustified. Whatever we do, we don’t hide. Our resistance is our right,” Afzal told the Hizb chief.