Always Yes to Planned Murder by Terrorists


Parliament attack conspirator Mohammad Afzal Guru's family on Thursday October 5, 2006, met President A P J Abdul Kalam seeking clemency for the convict who is to be hanged later this month. On 3 October, 2006 Mohammad Afzal Guru's family had submitted a mercy petition at Rashtrapati Bhawan seeking clemency for the accused and sought an appointment from the President. The petition was in the name of Mohammad Afzal Guru's wife Tabassum. A family member later told media-persons after the 10-minute audience with Dr Kalam on October 5 2006 at the Rashtrapati Bhawan that the President 'has assured us that he would look into the matter'. Mohammad Afzal Guru's wife Tabassum said that the President would read the petition and look into the matter. Tabassum, who was accompanied by Mohammad Afzal Guru's mother Ayesha Begum, son Ghalib and their two counsels ' Nandita Haksar and N D Pancholi ' met the President at 1345 hrs on (October 5, 2006 ). Speaking in Kashmiri, Tabassum said : 'I told the President that Mohammad Afzal Guru did not get justice at the lower court and High Court and so we had come to him to seek justice. I have faith in the President. India is a democratic country and we must get justice. The President heard us out very patiently. I want the President to pardon our son. My son wants to be a doctor and only if his father were alive, can he realize this ambition'.

Meanwhile, Nandita Haksar, counsel for the condemned accused, dramatized the whole affair when she said: 'After Mohammad Afzal Guru's son Ghalib learnt about his father being hanged, he came home, tied a rope to the fan and tried to hang himself saying he wanted to know how much his father would be hurt if he was hanged.'

The innocent citizens of India would like to know whether Tabbasum's husband was seeking to strengthen the forces of democracy in India by assisting in the launch of an armed attack on its democratic citadel - The Parliament. What about the dreams of the children of Security and Army personnel who were killed by the terrorists outside our Parliament? Would they not have been in a better position to realize their dreams if only their no less innocent fathers were alive today? Who will answer these questions? Definitely not President Musharraf of Pakistan.

When the Supreme Court of India gave a reasonable judgement in the Shah Banu case in the middle 1980s, Rajiv Gandhi Government gave a helping hand to terrorist Islam by amending the Indian Constitution ! Now I won't be surprised ' nor our country as a whole or more civilized world outside ' if the Congress Party organizes itself with combat-resolve to amend the constitution/or law to abolish the death sentence to save Mohammad Afzal Guru!

The BJP has decided to approach President A P J Abdul Kalam and the people over its opposition to clemency to Mohammed Mohammad Afzal Guru, sentenced to death in Parliament attack case. BJP is planning to seek an appointment with President Kalam to submit a memorandum against Mohammad Afzal Guru who 'plotted to eliminate the country's political establishment.' BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley has dubbed moves to save Mohammad Afzal Guru from the gallows as acts of 'misplaced sympathy' and alleged that the Congress 'had no strategy in place to tackle terrorism.'

The BJP has also warned the Congress-led Centre of public outrage if it recommended clemency for Mohammad Afzal Guru, and sought an apology from Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad over his mercy calls for the death-row convict involved in the armed attack on Parliament.

Gulam Nabi Azad, the ever-responsible and secular Chief Minister concerning Muslim affairs and never-responsible and ever-casual about Hindu affairs in Jammu and Kashmir, has pleaded for mercy for Mohammad Afzal Guru. The same view has been expressed with Islamic compassion and concern by the former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah.

Indian women of global stature and cosmic significance from the point of view of the survival of mankind as a species, like social activist Medha Patkar, Gandhian Nirmala Deshpande and writer Arundhati Roy, are valiantly fighting on behalf of this compassionate and humane terrorist and are making impassioned pleas through the ever sensitive and ever alert mafia of pseudo-secular and anti-Hindu mass media in India today. Watching in silence with pseudo-secular glee is our de-facto woman Prime Minister, ever holding aloft the benign torch of her Christian compassion towards all the minorities in general and the Jihadi terrorists of compassionate Islam in particular. Overseeing all this bizarre drama is a non-performing Parliament. The chief political clown of all this ingloriously contrived and ignoble edifice of pseudo-secularism is the neutral between neutrals, adamant for drift and solid for fluidity, de jure Prime Minister. Does this not complete the vicious circle of Congress / Communist sponsored nation-destroying pseudo-secularism?

The suggestion of some of these great public figures that punishment by death, in order not to be unusual, must be accomplished by molar than by molecular motion seems to me a fancy unwarranted by our Constitution. It will not be desirable even to imagine that terrorist criminals should escape through technicalities which are useless as safeguards to liberty, and only serve to make conviction more a matter of chance.

John Stuart Mill (1806-73) is considered as one of the foremost champions of liberty and liberalism in Victorian England. Influenced by his wife Harriet Taylor, Mill developed a very humane version of liberalism that was very sympathetic to women's rights, labor unions, proportional representation, and other liberal causes. He famous quotation has been quoted by all the freedom fighters in the 19th and 20th centuries: 'If mankind minus one were of one opinion, then mankind is no more justified in silencing the one than the one - if he had the power - would be justified in silencing mankind'. And yet he strongly felt that capital punishment was absolutely necessary to protect the lives of innocent citizens when he spoke against a Bill banning capital punishment that had been proposed by one MP Gilpin in the House of Commons on 21 April, 1868. The British Parliament showed great wisdom by abolishing capital punishment for all crimes other than murder and retained capital punishment only for the offence of murder and terrorism.

In my view the opinions of most public men on important issues are relatively worthless because they don't know the details and it's the details that determine judgement. Generalities don't amount to a hill of beans. Everybody agrees with them. Everybody is for Justice, Right and Decency. Everybody wants security. People who are not in the government, are never aware of the hard and inescapable facts, that men in government have to face or encounter from time to time. That is why Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes said :

'The law is full of generalities which no one can dispute. Ambiguity lurks in generality and may thus become an instrument of social severity. But the point that matters is whether the boy got his finger pinched.'

No responsible government can ignore these words of wisdom. The bite of law is its enforcement. There are first duties of citizenship even as there are also first duties of Government. A citizen's first duty is to uphold the law, but it is also a first duty of Government to enforce the Law ' to do so by prosecuting and punishing those who violate our criminal laws.

In this context the apposite words of former Chief Justice of India R C Lahoti, spoken on his last day in that high office, become relevant:

'Which penalty is required other than death for this dastardly act? What other punishment is called for? We forget the past.... Human memory fails.... We forget the victims and we only see the accused before us and his family.... We forget the family of those killed, injured and totally uprooted, and I am told of a family whose only surviving member is a small child. People say that death penalty is the only punishment in which you cannot give life back. Ask this man who is the mastermind behind this blast. Can he give the life back of those killed? We forget thousands of those killed and think of only one person. Keeping in view my judicial experience, I personally am of the opinion that it should continue in the Indian Penal Code'.

There are, of course, first duties of citizenship even as there are also first duties of Government. A citizen's first duty id to uphold the law, but it is also a first duty of Government to enforce the law ' to do so by prosecuting and punishing those who violate our criminal laws. There is no other way to maintain an ordered and moral society. Nothing can destroy a Government more quickly than its failure to observe its own laws or worse, its own disregard of the charter of its existence.

As Justice Brandeis said in one of his historically famous dissenting judgments in 1928;

'Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. If the Government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself. It only invites public anarchy.'     


More by :  V. Sundaram

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