Separatist groups in Kashmir reacted sharply to the death sentences awarded to three Kashmiri youths and life sentence to one by the New Delhi High Court on Thursday in the 1996 Lajpat Nagar blast case.
“It’s murder of justice. There were no witnesses in the case. Still the court acted as a partner of the state and pronounced the unacceptable punishment,” said hardline separatist leader Sayed Ali Shah Geelani, who heads a faction of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), who were mulling to organize protests on Friday.
The Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front has announced to start a campaign against the sentences. “In no civilized world, such punishments are acceptable. We launched a campaign against the death punishment in Afzal Guru case and Sarabjit case and will do the same in this case…we intend to involve civil society,” said JKLF chief Yasin Malik, adding “the punishments were too extreme and condemnable.”
He appealed to the civil society of Indian and international opinion makers to come forward to revoke the death sentences pronounced against three Kashmiris.
Four of the six convicted in the Lajpat Nagar were given quantum of punishment today. Three Kashmir youths – Ali Muhammad Bhat, Mohd Naushad, and Mirza Nissar Hussain --- were awarded death sentence and one Javed Ahmed Khan was given rigorous life imprisonment for serious offences of murder, conspiracy and attempt to murder under the IPC.
Separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq has termed the sentence “against principles of justice for being too harsh” and said “the judgment smells of vengeance.”
The APHC led by Mirwaiz has given a shutdown call for Friday and asked people to resort to peaceful protests against the judgment. “The Indian courts have been committing excesses on the people of Kashmir too,” said Mirwaiz.