Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru has become a cause of a war between a human rights NGO and a lawyer, with both claiming to represent him in his fight against death sentence.
The war came out in the open after N D Pancholi, a human rights activist and a lawyer, claimed to the media that Guru had petitioned the Supreme Court for expeditious disposal of his mercy plea as his "solitary confinement was worse than death".
Pancholi made the statement, saying he was representing Guru in his fight for mercy petition which is under consideration of the government.
The Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP), an NGO led by S A R Geelani, who was acquitted in the 2001 Parliament attack case, soon came out with a statement rubbishing Pancholi and his claim to be Guru's lawyer.
Geelani, the Working President of CRPP, claimed that Pancholi had nothing to do with the case and Guru was being represented only by his NGO.
He claimed that that Pancholi had never appeared for Guru in any court.
An associate professor in Delhi University, Geelani claimed the CRPP was representing Afzal and Pancholi had nothing to do with the case.
Pancholi rejected this contention. "How can they (CRPP) say that? I have the 'vakalatnama' and I met him through proper channels. Then how can they say that I am not his counsel? Whose cause are they serving," Pancholi told PTI.
Incidentally, Geelani and Pancholi were founding members of an NGO Society for Protection of Detainees and Prisoners Rights (SPDPR) from which the lawyer resigned following differences.
Countering Pancholi, Geelani told PTI that Pancholi was given 'vakalatnama' by the SPDPR when he was its member to meet Guru in jail. "After that he had resigned and even Guru had objections to him," he claimed.
"If he had gone to the President's House with mercy petition, it was the SPDPR which sent him. We sent him not as his counsel," he said.
Pancholi dubbed CRPP's statement as "mischievous" and said he had "the approval from Guru to say about this application."