This is to commemorate the fourth death anniversary of, Shaheed Muhammad Afzal Guru, on the 9th of February 2013, Afzal from Daubgow sopore was secretly subject to the death-penalty on false charges of attacking the Indian parliament. It was the end of winter when the news broke out about Afzal Guru, convicted and secretly hanged in Tihar jail. The doomsday of 9th February witnessed a silent death. Without even asking his last wish to meet his wife or only son. An unassuming Afzal, without any defense could not prove himself his clemency and never would have thought an end like this, which abruptly came to an end without fulfilling many of his other dreams like any other Kashmiri youth’s dream of freedom and peace. He also worked for it, but that life got submerged inside the dark cell of Tihar, he is been murdered and buried in the jail premises. The trees stand still, no leaves shivered in the deathly silence. They were witnessing and unjustifiable death of a feeble soul. Even the hangman must have felt the uneasiness of killing Afzal as it was evident that he is been used as a scapegoat.
After four years still the family is demanding the remaining mortal for last rites. But the State government as well as centre government too failed to return the body of slain Afzal. An inconsolable Tabasum writes lamenting her pain in poetical verses which shows her agony about his indefinite return.
‘walo haa nigaro be havay jigger, tahas goy mei bala mei ma leij
khabar, walo haa nigaro-behavay jigger behavay jigger.’
….Oh my beloved come, I will show my wailing heart,
Come my beloved… come and see,
That I am devastated and marooned in oblivion…
This is a poetical translation of the above verses written by the wife of Afzal (Tabasum)
From these verses one can understand the pain and agony, she has gone through and she is still waiting for the remaining mortal to be buried in an ancestral home.
A decade inside the marshy dark incarceration, he was held incommunicado without recourse to a fair trial. Unable to defend himself his eventual petition for clemency was rejected by the Union Home Ministry. After his death, his family was unable to rid and secure his last rites. Now, four years on, though the people of Kashmir have campaigned in his name, we are still unable to secure his body from the Indian authorities.
“The basic concepts of Jurisprudence that the 100 culprits may let go free but no innocent should be punished”.
Every person is equal before the law: the Constitution of India gives the right of equality to every person, be it a citizen or non-citizen. In India the law works differently for different people. The question here is many culprits often waved off their crimes, either they get enough time to get out off the gallows or they may get political support or their lordliness or mercy petitions save them. Or their cases simply get postponed with never ending procedures of the court. Anyway, still they escape from the killing machine. But here in Afzal’s case he is not even provided a lawyer to defend his case or his mercy plea was heard by any deaf ear.
Who is responsible for such convictions where natural justice was denied? In Afzal’s case there were lots of hazy ends which never proved Afzal was a convict. Though many humanists supported his Mercy petition but it was rejected by Indian Govt, as the polls were nearer they used his sentence for their political interest. Later it is been revealed by them saying it was an inappropriately implemented death and they regretted as mistake.
In 1984, there was similar death imposed on, Shaheed Muhammad Maqbool Bhat, was also convicted and hung in Tihar prison, on two false charges of murder. Subject to an unfair trial he was treated similar to Shaheed Afzal, whereby he was buried in Tihar jail without being returned to Kashmir for a proper burial. These examples are testament to the ongoing struggle of the Kashmiri people, where a land known to be ‘Heaven on Earth’ has become a living Hell for people. Grave atrocities, mass rapes and involuntary disappearances are now routine and met with increasing anger giving rise to tension and hostility. It is a matter of fact that the hypocrisy, draconian policies and a largely brutal system of oppression, repression and suppression of the Kashmiri people is overlooked by India with concerning impunity. The campaign to repatriate the bodies of these two martyrs, Afzal and Maqbool, to their ancestral home is still a source of hope for their families and the people of Kashmir. These are unique yet all too familiar cases that need redress. Four years on, the sentiments of the bereaved wife and son of Afzal are still a wailing sob in our mind.
A brilliant Gaalib son of Afzal denies the conviction and wants to prove that his father was innocent. When will Indian government is going to return back the body to his son to perform his last rites. After the death he was buried in the Tihar compound and the graves have been kept under lock and key ever since. All Kashmiri people now demand a day of observance in the Valley to mark the death and sacrifice of martyr. Now very prominent figures representing the freedom struggle for autonomous self-rule in Kashmir. When Indian government want to convict and murder them the Kashmiri people want to choose them as their leaders and martyrs. India should know that 50 years back they also fought for their freedom from the British. Just like Bhagat Singh today Afzal Guru is the new face of Kashmir and his life in jail prompted youth in Kashmir to continue fighting for independence and he remains an influence on young students of India.
“If freedom is our birth right who will not fight for it”.