By Shahid Tantray, Photojournalist | Srinagar, Kashmir
A group of youth gathered for a candle light protest here today, in support of Afzal Guru, demanding re-investigation of the case. The protestors appealed to the president of India for “justice for Afzal Guru”. They said if Guru will be hanged then peace process will get affected in Kashmir.
Guru was accused of being a Jaish-e-Mohammad militant and then convicted of the December 2001 Indian Parliament attack. He was sentenced to death by the Supreme Court of India in 2004, which was scheduled to be carried out on October 20, 2006 but he was given a stay of execution and is on death row. His case is one of the seven which president Pranab Mukherjee has recently sent back to the Union home minister, Sushilkumar Shinde, for reconsideration believing it is important that the Home minister should relook at the judgment before he gives his final decision.
After the hanging of Ajmal Kasab, for Mumbai attacks of November 26, 2009, there has been pressure from certain sections of India, who want Guru to be hanged soon. National political party, BJP, has asked for his hanging next. Senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh also opined that Guru should be hanged now. “Finally Kasab hanged. GOI should pursue the case of the handlers in Pakistan. Afzal Guru’s case should also be expedited now,” he tweeted after Kasab was hanged.
However, pro-resistance leaders of Kashmir have warned India of such a step. “Kashmir will singe if Afzal is hanged. His execution will unleash a storm of protests which New Delhi cannot withstand. The government should think thousand times before deciding anything against Afzal,” chairman of the Hurriyat Conference, Syed Ali Shah Geelani said, in a statement.