Being an ardent believer in Indian Constitution and at the same time a through secular in approach Indian Muslim like me find it difficult to have full faith in the way justice is delivered in regards to the minority communities in India particularly in regard to the Muslims. Hanging of Afzal Guru brought the debate again to the fore whether all went well in the end in dispensation of justice to him or not? One wonders in this case whether ultimately the Capital Punishment was unavoidable or not after all the case involved is an Indian Citizen? Unfortunately the cases are being decided on “Conscience and Astha of the majority”. Minorities are left with no conscience, Muslims or Kashmiris are devoid of any, as it appears in case of our govt. Such dispensation of justice may have many takers — right-wingers, nationalists and pragmatists who may even cite what the US did in Guantanamo Bay to justify the Indian state’s new-found bloodthirsty ways.
It has been called by the Human Rights group that Justice in case of Afzal Guru has been a ‘low key shoddy affairs’. He has been brutally tortured and confession sought as is evident from his interview to a journalist inside Tihar. When you go to nitty gritty of the case you will find he was ‘not directly involved’ and sadly enough in his case evidences hardly point to his direct complicity in the attack on Indian Parliament. Afzal Guru is not AjmalQasab, he is an Indian Citizen and his mercy plea would have been a welcome gesture to those who disapprove of such a Punishment. But a state that keeps things deliberately smoky even when it involves its own citizens like Afzal Guru it does so at its own peril. The govt is sowing the seed of own discomfitures in future. There has been numerous cases where Muslim youths were wrongly picked up, sent to confinement and was letter on released after around 10-15 years being absolved of any charges. No compensation has been given to such cases by the govt. agency. Those who suffered at the wrong hands of law enforcing agencies had to compromise with the best lost years of their lives.
Second important point is that it has been found that the govt. had always doublespeak/double standard in such cases where Muslims are involved. Muslim terrorists if happened to be somehow convicted would be treated differently than the saffron terrorists. The question arises why have not the Govt. of India were so hard on hundreds of Maoists who are more lethal more violent, blowing up trucks after truck carrying Indian armed forces, landmine blasts a routine affair, rampant kidnapping, torture and numerous cases of attack on our system but still no hanging no savage justice to them, as they are our ‘own terrorists.’
That takes us to the curious case of doublespeak, impartiality and ostrich diplomacy of the govt. in Varun Gandhi’s outpouring of venoms against Indian Muslims. Years passed by he is still to be convicted. PravinTogadia is perpetual offender, a law unto himself a non-believer in Indian constitution and a die-hard anti-Muslim who could create serious enmity is above law. He boasts of killings of Muslims, Justifies atrocities on them and aims for Muslim less India. He is roaming free though he is standing with AkbaruddinOwaisi in the content of the criminality. Owaisi in Jail, Togadia on bail. It appears that PravinTogadia is above Justice above constitution of India and law of the land doesn’t apply to him. The late Shiva SenaSuperemoBalThakrey died without being put on trial in any of the more than 80 pending cases of hundreds of hate speeches against the Muslims, his involvement in riots, kidnapping ransacking public property, against Tamils, against north Indians. Indian govt. remained weak-kneed against such an outlawed in India.
Mecca Masjid Blast, Samjhauta express arsoning, Malegaon blast and numerous such cases are there which are also terrorists activities, but Col. Purohit , SadhviPragya, Maya Kodnani, BabuBajrangi, Aseemanand and scores of others either would be freed or would find soft sentencing.
Hanging of Afzal Guru has definitely put Home minister’s rant of ‘Saffron terror training camps’ on back burner and endeared him to the Right wingers RSS VHP etc. who are elated now. A sheer vote bank politics of Congress whether it was Rajiv Gandhi’s opening of the lock of Baburi Mosque, whether NarsimhaRao’s failing duty in protecting Baburi mosque, whether soft on BalThakre and others, all you find suggestive of the vote bank politics of the govt. They are best in ‘vote bank politics’ rather than running the country.
Defending an accused (rightly or wrongly on the terror charges) like Afzal Guru would not go well with our establishment but definitely it is a case of an Indian Citizen for whom a life term would have been the best as we are dealing with Kashmir problems, where there are ample proof of mishandling of various many cases of rapes, encounters, massacres, which we are also accountable to after all Kashmiris also have ‘Conscience’.
Frederick Douglass says, the life of the nation is secure only when the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous and as we amrch towards 21st Century we are not as honet, as truthful as we should have been.
By- © Dr. M Waseem Raja, Sr. Asst. Professor, AMU