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Condemn strongly the illegal act of executing Mohd. Afzal Guru!

Condemn and expose the violation of all procedures and law! Stand for our Right to Protest and Freedom of Expression!

On the 4th of March 2013 the Committee for the Release of Political Prisoners (CRPP) observed a Protest Dharna at Jantar Mantar strongly condemning the illegal act of executing Mohd. Afzal Guru and exposing the blatant violation of all procedures of law in this execution.It was also to stand for our right to protest and freedom of expression.

Representatives from various states of India such as Bihar, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand as well as the oppressed nationalities of North East and Kashmir gathered in the Dharna.

Amidst slogans and songs of protest, the students of Kashmir and India in unison condemned the brutal killing of Afzal and demanded Kashmir’s Azadi. The arrival of Syed Ali Shah Geelani at the protest venue was greeted with vibrant sloganeering. All speakers severely condemned the hanging of Afzal and unequivocally demanded the abolition of death penalty and all other draconian laws being imposed on the people of both Kashmir and India fighting for justice, freedom and equality.

Sujato Bhadro (prominent civil libertarian and vice president CRPP) condemned the heinous execution of both political and so called non-political prisoners. As a principle he condemned capital punishment as it is nothing but a clear premeditated murder by the state. It is the inherent discrimination within an unequal society that creates criminals. The society cannot murder them and wash off their hands.He condemned the flouting of all legal procedures in Afzal’s killing,he also demanded re-trial of Afzal’s case and of the case file in the so-called attack against Indian parliament.

Sumit Chakravarthy (Editor Mainstream) said Afzal’s hanging was not just an attack on Kashmir, but most importantly it was an attack on Indian democracy. He said to kill Afzal was a political decision and there was no law involved. This was a product of political rivalry between Congress and BJP for competitive jingoist nationalism. Not a single voice was raised within the parliament because from the right to left, all worried that they will lose out on vote bank politics. We must extend our solidarity with the people of Kashmir. It is only thereby that we can defend democracy.He added that the martyrdom of Afzal, for all the democracy loving people of India should remain an example.

Amit Bhattacharyya (Secretary General CRPP) said that the 99% in India’s jail are from lower caste, minorities, adivasis, and all other oppressed masses who are fighting for justice and their rights. While on other hand, the murders and crimes been committed everyday by Army/CRPF are not even booked. He asked the “collective conscience” of which nation was satisfied by hanging Afzal. Is it a Hindu nation? Does it not include minorities or oppressed?

Syed Ali Shah Geelani(Chairman Tehreek-e- Hurriyat) said that absolute power corrupts and blinds people. But history tells us that whenever this happens, resistance wins. The people of J&K are fighting for many years for their inalienable right for freedom. More than 6 lakhs have been martyred, and we are being killed even now. Maqbool Bhatt was killed in 1984 in Tihar, and now Afzal. We have clear evidences that he was not involved in the parliament attack. He was framed, and not even a chance to defend himself. The judge who gave this judgement himself accepted that law is not supporting, but we still want to hang Afzal to satisfy the sentiment, and conscience of the people. This is a judicial murder. He was not even allowed to meet his family member before he was hanged which is guaranteed by law. They are now demanding his body. A Kashmiri student studying in Hyderabad who had offered prayers for Afzal was thereafter found dead in his room.  Now they are saying that he has committed suicide. It is a conspiracy through which they killed him. While talking about the highhandedness of Delhi police, he said, he was kept under house arrest for 19 days since Afzal’s hanging, at his Malviya Nagar residence and was not even allowed to offer Friday prayers.  As far as Kashmir issue is concerned, he said, people are being oppressed and humiliated for 65 years and they will keep fighting against the forcible occupation of Kashmir by the Indian state.

Prof. Koya (Vice President, Popular Front of India & CRPP), observed that by hanging anyone to death, the state commits a crime. We are not against the illegal execution of Afzal Guru. We are against the legal execution of Afzal. We know fundamentally all such murders are illegal. Murder by a state is itself a political act – whether in India, Saudi Arabia or US... He further pointed out that despite the maintenance of  one million Indian security personnel protest and anger is slowly coming out in Kashmir. While pointing out that the underprivileged are always send to the gallows he further asked: How many people were hanged when 8000 people were gassed in Bhopal, when 2000 were hacked in nelli, when 3000 were killed in the streets of Ahmedabad, nobody was hanged.

Prof. Haragopal (prominent social scientist and civil libertarian) said that when they talk of “sentiment”was the sentiment of the people of Kashmir taken into consideration considering the SC still considers Kashmir as part of India? He said that in India the popular morality is dangerously over-riding constitutional morality. Ambedkar had said constitutional morality is more important than popular morality. In a country where the heinous caste system exists, what can be the public morality in India? Rule of law is important in a democracy. But in no way it means rule by law. AFSPA, TADA, POTA are not rule of law but rule by law.

He added there lies a connection between the 9% rate of growth and Afzal’s killing. Where there is so much inequality, poverty, unemployment, unrest is legitimate. And if the response of the state is terrorizing the people who are fighting for their inalienable rights, for justice with more and more draconian rules, then people will fight back. He strongly criticized the media for the jingoism that they indulged in while reporting on the hanging of Afzal. He further pointed ou that the vast sections of the corporate media are instigating the public. If the media does not take into account the rights of the people, then it is a suicide. If you create support for Modi, for the state’s so-called development agenda, for hanging somebody - all of this is anti-people, he reiterated. And if we have to change the society then hanging only criminalizes it further. It does not help. For a better society we must fight against death penalty.

Rajkishore (RDF) lamented that it is shameful, that SC itself says that there is no direct evidence, and takes refuge in the so-called ‘collective conscience’. Some blind communal lumpen’s conscience cannot be the collective conscience of the nation. Today the demand is to abolish death penalty across the world. That fight is continuing and we must join. In today’s parliamentary system of loot and plunder of the people there is nothing called justice.  The legitimate demand of his family and the people of Kashmir for his body to be returned must be honoured. We must fight against this unjust system. No system gives freedom by itself. We must snatch it away from the ruling classes. For that we have to face our oppressors.

Com. Aparna (CPI (ML) (New Democracy), pointed out that we must remember, that in the Bhopal case, when collective conscience of this country wanted punishment of Anderson, the SC refrained from giving any verdict. Further she observed that the ‘collective conscience’ can justify hanging someone is an imposition on the people of India. We must understand that this history of hanging can be traced back to the British colonial rule as they employed this repressive strategy to murderously rule the people of the Indian subcontinent.

PankajBisht (Editor Samayantar ) said that no civilized society can give death sentence. Crime cannot be stopped through giving death sentences. Keeping aside political prisoners like afzal, not even a single middle class has ever been hanged. Every crime is related to the society it exists in. so the attempt should be to change society. Every passing day our state is trying to brutalize the society – for each and everything we are demanding  … even the supreme court is referring to collective conscience – as if the collective conscience is becoming blood thirsty. So death penalty must be stopped.

Hafiz Mansur Ali Khan (Gen Secretary, Social Democratic Party, India) ,said that from the point of view of his party, the person who leaves this world his family has right over his body. They have a legitimate legal right over his body. My party supports their demand for returning Afzal’s body.

100 criminals may be left, but not even one innocent should be punoished. Further, justice means that even a person who has gone wrong should be punished in a way that he rectifies himself. But death penalty does not give the person any chance to rectify.

 Apart from these Javed Wani (Azadi Group [UP]), Veera Satyadas (Republican Panthers, Maharashtra), Raghu Nath (APCLC), Gurmeet Singh & others also spoke condemning hanging of Afzal.

From the stage of this Protest Dharna, in the spirit of the demands articulated by the speakers and the slogans of the protestors, CRPP reiterates its demands: Justice to Afzal Guru; Justice to the people of Jammu & Kashmir & Justice to all political prisoners.



CRPP Press Statement (04/03/2013) -- FROM THE PROTEST DHARNA AT JANTAR MANTAR, 4 MARCH 2013, 2 PM