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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

A year after Afzal's hanging, wife wants peaceful life for son

Toufiq Rashid  Srinagar, February 09, 2014
First Published: 18:08 IST(9/2/2014) | Last Updated: 18:13 IST(9/2/2014)

It was on this day in 2013 when Tabasum Guru and her 13-year-old son Ghalib woke up to the news that her husband and a convict in the Parliament attack case, Afzal Guru, was hanged. A year later, all she wants is a “normal and peaceful life”for her family.

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She insists her “family is apolitical and wants no politics over Guru’s death.” “We are a normal family. My son is in Class 9 and I want him to lead a normal life. We have nothing to do with politics,” says Tabasum, who always tried to keep her son away from the media even during 12 years of her husband’s trail. She wants him to study and make a name for himself. “He is a good student, I want him to study and do something good in life,” she said.

Guru hanged on Feb 9
On February 9, 2013 Guru was hanged to death inside the Tihar Jail for his alleged role in the December 2001 Parliament attack. Ghalib was just two-year old when Guru was arrested in New Delhi. He had seen his father the last time in August 2012.

Reacting to Galib’s recent appearance in a political seminar, Tabasum says she was misled. “Some people, who were in jail with Afzal, came to me with a request for participation in a seminar, when I refused they asked if my son could come. I did not know that there would be the media and he would be called on the dias,”said Tabasum, who got married to Afzal in 1998.

WORKS AT HOSPITAL
After Afzal was arrested in 2001, she took up a managerial job in a private hospital in Sopore. Even after the Supreme Court held Afzal guilty of the attack on the India’s symbol of democracy — Parliament, Tabasum believes her husband never had a fair trial. “I have nothing to say to the politicians, be it mainstream or separatist,” she added.

“Omar Abdullah had given his consent for taking Afzal to the gallows on January 30 last, why shall I ask him to get my husband’s body; or, do you want me to talk to the home minister, who sacrificed Guru to save his government,” she said.

“Even the separatist camps; what have they done to get his mortal remains back. When he was alive no one helped us to get a lawyer. If SAR Geelani, another accused in the case who was let off by the courts, could get Ram Jethmalani, why couldn’t we get anybody,” she adds.
 
Asked if the family plans any function on Guru’s death anniversary, Tabasum says: “We will remember him with prayers, but want no political gathering. We are not sure whether we can do that, as Kashmir will surely be under restrictions.” Tabasum, who was in a state of shock when Hindustan Times visited her residence immediately after Guru’s death, says the last one year taught her many lessons.

“The last one year taught me many lessons. I have been struggling to survive and will continue till I am alive,”she added. The separatists’ camps, hardliners as well as moderates, have called a three-day strike starting February 9 to mark Guru’s death anniversary.

While curfew like restrictions are likely in some areas, senior separatist leader Syed Ali Geelani was put under house arrest immediately after he returned from Delhi on Saturday.  Terming Afzal’s hanging a political stunt by the Congress, Tabassum said her husband was “sacrificed”for electoral gains by the party.

EVEN SEPARATISTS FAILED ME’
“If the separatists would have called protests on the hanging of Ajmal Kasab, my husband’s turn would not have come,”she said. She also said that if the separatists would have continued the shutdown after Afzal’s hanging, the government would have been forced to return his remains.

Tabassum alleged that there was a conspiracy in the timing of the Supreme Court’s judgment that delayed his execution on a ground for commutation of the death sentence. She said her husband was hanged flouting all the laws, “He was number 21 on the death row, but was hanged before others.”

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