Amid JNU row, Pakistan calls Afzal Guru’s trial ‘unfair’

  • HT Correspondent, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 18, 2016 23:05 IST
JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar being taken to Patiala House Court in New Delhi on Wednesday. (Virender Singh Gosain/HT)

Pakistan on Thursday weighed in on the controversial protest at JNU that triggered unrest at the varsity, saying the execution of Afzal Guru for the 2001 attack on India’s parliament was the outcome of an “unfair trial”.

Jawaharlal Nehru University students union president Kanhaiya Kumar was arrested last week on a charge of sedition after being accused of shouting “anti-national slogans” at an event to protest against Guru’s hanging in 2013. Kumar has denied the charge.

Responding to a question about Kashmiri and other students reportedly being detained after slogans against Guru’s execution were raised at JNU, foreign office spokesman Mohammed Nafees Zakaria told a weekly news briefing: “Kashmiris have never accepted the unfair trial that led to the execution of Afzal Guru.

“Human rights organisations from within and outside India had also criticised the manner in which Afzal Guru was tried and executed.”

Zakaria did not make any references to Kumar’s arrest or the unrest at JNU in his remarks.

While replying to another question about the Indian envoy to Islamabad saying that talks between foreign secretaries of the two sides will not be linked to the attack on Pathankot airbase, the spokesman said, “In view of the statement, it is our view that the date of the foreign secretary-level talks should now be decided as early as possible.”

He added that both sides “are in contact with each other to finalise the dates” for the talks.

Zakaria described alleged rights violations in Jammu and Kashmir by security forces as a “serious concern”. He said Pakistan had taken up this issue at international and regional forums and condemned such incidents.

Reacting to Zakaria’s comments, the external affairs ministry spokesperson said, “Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter of India. Pakistan’s gratuitous references to Jammu and Kashmir are unacceptable.”

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