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Home > News > PTI

No clemency for Afzal: Indian-Americans

Seema Hakhu Kachru in Houston | October 12, 2006 12:15 IST

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In the midst of the controversy over death sentence to Parliament attack convict Mohammad Afzal, concerned non-resident Indians are closely monitoring developments on his mercy.

A sizeable number of Indian Americans feel that justice and the rule of law must not be sacrificed at the altar of sheer expediency and speculative political considerations and likely fallout.

Dr Subodh Atal, foreign policy analyst based near Washington DC, said the issue is not surprising given India's consistent history in recent years as a soft state.

"Giving clemency to a terrorist, who has been found guilty of involvement in the attack on one of the greatest symbols of Indian democracy, undermines the nation's foundation as a strong republic with global aspirations.

Such an action would be in line with previous episodes, particularly the cave-in to (1999 Kandahar) hijacking, with (the then) external affairs minister Jaswant Singh escorting dangerous international terrorists to Kandahar," Atal said.

Sreeram Chaulia, a New York-based human rights activist, is opposed to death penalty in principle as he does not believe in state-sanctioned murder.

"However, the political reasons being bandied about for his clemency seem dubious to me. If we were to take the principle of equality before law into account, there is no reason why Afzal should be treated separately from other prisoners on death row," he said.

"Kashmir's exceptional status should not once again weigh in and be used as a justification to spare Afzal when so many others are going to the gallows. If Afzal should be pardoned, so should every other prisoner on death row all over India," Chaulia said.

Rahul Pandit, the president of the Indo-American Kashmiri Forum, says India would much rather see a freed terrorist who has been convicted of murder and treason than a rehabilitated Kashmiri Hindu who has lived in refugee camps in Jammu and other places for the past 16 years, Pandit said.

He was critical of Indian human rights activists and other 'overnight sympathisers' requesting clemency for a person who has attacked the nation's capital. "This would be analogous to someone storming the US Capitol and being forgiven for it," he said.

Hari Dayal, Professor of Preventive Medicine at UTMB, Galveston, Texas and the founder of the Indo-American Association of Houston, believes that the appeals for clemency from various rights activists in India are routine.

"More disturbing are the clemency appeals from politicians, including Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, and some Muslim groups. Clemency is the

concept of jurisprudence practiced in the cultures that do not subscribe to mutilation as a form of punishment," he said.

Vijay Sazawal, a US-based Kashmiri Pandit activist based in Washington DC and a spirit behind Indo-American Kashmir Forum, said, "In my view, the due process should be allowed to run its course."



© Copyright 2006 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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Number of User Comments: 7




Sub: clemency for afzal

pleading for clemency for afzal is like waging another war against india


Posted by srinivas





Sub: Hanging Afzal is Not Enough

Afzal Guru'c criminal adventure has reached its logical conclusion. His hanging may be delayed, but can't be stopped. The greater concern however is the audacity ...


Posted by Harikrishna





Sub: Act of shame

Shameful history should not repeat again in case of Afzal who was found guilty of attack on parliament which is temple of our democracy.There is ...


Posted by Alhad sadachar





Sub: Celemency for a terrorist? thats riduculous

It is shocking to see that apart from politicians (from whom anyways not much good is expected), social workers like Arundhuti Roy are also on ...


Posted by Sonali Dey





Sub: no clemency for afzal

Why afzal should be forgiven.Hang him till death and the family of security forces who died in parliment attack should watch the hanging program. Kashmiri ...


Posted by ASHISH ZUTSHI




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