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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

Afzal Guru must not meet Kasab's fate, says Valley

Toufiq Rashid, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, November 22, 2012
First Published: 23:26 IST(22/11/2012) | Last Updated: 02:10 IST(23/11/2012)

The Valley's reaction to the hanging of 26/11 terrorist Ajmal Kasab has been muted, but the fate of Afzal Guru has had it on tenterhooks.

Following Kasab's death, the right-wing BJP raised a cry for fast-forwarding the execution of Guru, who has been on death row since 2004 for his role in the Parliament attack case.

The separatists and political parties have now closed ranks - warning in one voice of severe repercussions in the state should Guru be hanged too.

Guru's family and human rights groups claim he was not given a fair trial and the verdict was flawed, since there was no direct evidence against him.

Reiterating the point, National Conference additional secretary and CM Omar Abdullah's uncle Dr Mustafa Kamal said, "People who are trying to play politics on the issue should understand the consequences in J&K."

"We don't oppose the Supreme Court's ruling as it is the opinion of the highest court of law in the country. But anything that has a potential to disturb the peace should be avoided," he added.

"So the President should take the right call."

Nayeem Aktar, spokesperson of the opposition People's Democratic Party, shared the opinion.

"We have always said we are against death sentences. Assessing the cost-benefit ratio and looking at how things can turn out in the state, we think this case needs a re-look," he said.

Even the separatist leaders have voiced their concern.

Moderate separatist leader Yasin Malik said, "If the state takes a wrong decision about Guru, it will have disastrous consequences for the whole region. It will cause a serious dent in the process of positive transformation in Kashmir and a new era of violence may start."

Guru's family reiterated their appeal for clemency.

"Kasab was a foreign national caught killing innocent people in Mumbai. How can he be equated with Afzal Guru, who was not present when Parliament was attacked?" said Guru's father-in-law Ghulam Mohammad Guru.

"Even the court judgment says there is no direct evidence against him. This means he should be sacrificed to bring closure to the case."

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