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'The government betrayed me'
Afzal turns to books, scriptures
Coverage: Attack on Parliament
Images: 'No clemency for Afzal'
Facing gallows for his role in the 2001 Parliament terror attack, Mohammed Afzal Guru has petitioned President A P J Abdul Kalam for mercy, saying he did not get 'fair trial' in courts.
In an emotional plea, Afzal refuted police charges and claimed innocence in his 102-page long mercy petition submitted late Wednesday night to the authorities of Tihar jail, where he is lodged currently.
The prison authorities will forward the petition to Kalam.
'I believe that I have not had one moment's fair trial and I will give you the facts from the court records', the petition said.
The former Jammu and Kashmir [Images] Liberation Front militant so far had refused to file a clemency petition on the ground that he had no hope of getting justice, while his family had approached the President, seeking mercy for him.
'It is true that I did not want to file any petition before you but it was not out of any arrogance or illwill. I had no hope of getting justice', he said.
Refering to an argument given by those who supported his hanging on the ground that 'I have not shown any remorse or begged for forgiveness', Afzal said, 'I cannot ask for forgiveness for something I have not done. I was entrapped by corrupt officers of the Special Task Force'.
Afzal said he was moved by the 'solidarity' he has received from people, cutting across ideological divides, apart from the support he got from Jammu and Kashmir.
'This support has truly given me new hope that I may still live and able to see my son grow up', he said in his plea.
He said he was also moved by how 'graciously the President received his wife, son and mother when they met him. It kindled a new hope that I may still get justice'.
Alleging that the timing, date and place of his arrest were fabricated, Afzal said the prosecution has claimed in the court that he was arrested while travelling in a truck driven by Shaukat Hussain, the third accused in the case who is serving life imprisonment, from Srinagar [Images] on December 15, 2001.
'This story of the police is false. I was arrested alone from Batmalu bus stop in Srinagar. There was neither a truck nor Hussain. Pertinent aspect is that Hussain did not know driving and he had no driving licence'.
'Any truck or vehicle which goes to Srinagar has to pass through Lakhanpur checkpost for toll tax where particulars of every vehicle are entered along with name of driver and driving licence number. The investigation has glossed over this investigation into this aspect', he said.
Detailing how he picked up arms, Afzal said he like many other youths in the valley were inspired by Omar Mukhtar's banned film Lion of the Desert, which depicted the story of a teacher who fights for liberation of his people and was hanged.
'It was during those heady days I like so many thousands of youth who left the comfort of our homes, the security of our jobs and gave up our dreams. I joined the movement and moved across to Pakistan', said Afzal, who was then a first year student of MBBS.
'However, I was greatly disillusioned by the fact that both India and Pakistan were using Kashmiri youth as pawns in their respective politics', he added.
Alleging that he was entrapped by corrupt officers, Afzal said, 'I do not think you can understand what the life of a surrendered militant is like in Kashmir'.
'I do not think that the attack on the Parliament serve the cause of the Kashmiri people and I am genuinely sorry for the family members of those who died doing their duty', he added.
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