Friday, October 06, 2006

The Mohammed Afzal Gooru Case

I am sure you have all heard about the December 13 2001 attack on the Parliament Hall, and that a person called Mohammed Afzal Gooru was convicted of involvement in the attack. You may even know that he has been sentenced to death by the court and that his appeal for clemency has reached President Kalam.

His family and many Kashmiri organizations and many so-called Human Rights groups in India have asked the clemency appeal be granted.

Gooru's wife has filed a letter in which she claims that Gooru was a surrendered militant who cooperated with Special Task Force at Humhuma. She goes on to claim that Gooru repeatedly paid huge sums of money to the STF people for his safety and that he only participated in the events leading up to the attack on the parliament after STF personnel instructed him to. According to Gooru's wife, STF officers instructed Gooru to transport two of the attackers to Delhi.

You may recall that after the attack, the Pakistanis had accused India of "stage managing" the attack on the Parliament to "give Pakistan a bad name" and later to " start hostilities with Pakistan".

The Supreme Court has acquitted the co-accused in the case, S. A. R. Geelani and Navjot Sandhu but upheld the death penalty for Afzal Gooru. Some people have argued that media politicized the case and perhaps that might have affected the court's judgement, but if at this point a presidential clemency plea is given to Gooru, it will reinforce the fiction that the Pakistanis have been perpetrating all this time.

It is important to remember that there are many people called Geelani involved in the Kashmir terrorism and communication with them has to have a unique clarity about it. There is a need to avoid sending mixed messages.

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