Print edition : March 22, 2013

Afzal Guru

THE poignant photograph of Kashmiris offering funeral prayers for Mohammad Afzal Guru made me hang my head in shame (Cover Story, March 8).

The day Afzal Guru was hanged, a dear friend of mine was in a hospital in Vellore desperately waiting for a kidney. I am a doctor and I know that neither the President’s signature nor the pronouncement of a Supreme Court judge could give him a new kidney or, for that matter, even a drop of blood or a patch of skin. So what gives these mortal human beings the right to take a life?

The secret execution of Afzal Guru will continue to haunt every Kashmiri, and many non-Kasmiris, for years to come.

Dr Aniruddha Dam


IT was wrong of the jail authorities and the Home Ministry to inform the victim’s family by Speed Post (“Unanswered questions”, March 8). One wonders why the jail authorities did not think of making a phone call, even if it was a deviation from the established practice. Certainly, the authorities wanted the hanging to take place in absolute secrecy and did not want to cause a stir in society. The illegal detention of the senior journalist Iftikar Gilani is also highly condemnable. It shows the impunity with which the police personnel act in this country. Action must be taken against the police officers who arrested Gilani and locked his school-going children in a bedroom for no apparent reason.

No less disheartening is the behaviour of people totally unconnected to the trial, like the activists of Bajrang Dal who celebrated the death of a man with great pomp.

Ritvik Chaturvedi

New Delhi

WITH the hanging of Afzal Guru, the curtains have finally come down on the subject, with the Congress scoring a point over the BJP. Keeping in view the sensitivity of the case and its probable repercussions in Jammu and Kashmir, the government was right in carrying out the hanging in secrecy. But Afzal Guru’s wife and son should have been allowed to meet him before his final moments and to be present during his burial. It is a basic right of the family members and would also have been a humane act.

S. Balakrishnan

Jamshedpur, Jharkhand

THE secret execution of Afzal Guru is absolutely indefensible. His involvement in the Parliament House attack is total and irrefutable. The Supreme Court arrived at the right conclusion after giving careful thought to the case. The same cannot be said about the way the government handled his mercy petition and about the subsequent developments. Afzal Guru may be a pious man but piety cannot wash away the sin.

G. Azeemoddin

Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh

THE hanging of Afzal Guru, the principal accused in the Parliament House attack case, has generally been welcomed by patriotic Indians. Though the sentence was carried out after a gap of 11 years, Afzal Guru’s death has reinforced one’s faith in the legal system. The country’s sovereignty was threatened when its Parliament, the embodiment of democracy, was held to ransom by Guru and his accomplices in December 2001. By hanging Guru, the government has demonstrated to the world that India is not soft on terrorism and that it is committed to ending the scourge.

Jayant Mukherjee


THE way the Congress sat over Afzal Guru’s file for years and then suddenly executed him raises some doubts in our minds. There seems to be more to it than meets the eye.

But having said that, is it not ironical that every issue becomes a political issue here? Omar Abdullah fears a political backlash as this is an election year. The BJP, on the other hand, now claims that the pressure exerted by it forced the Congress to take this action, while the Congress will say that it is not soft on terrorism. Human rights activists will say that the hanging should not have taken place at all.

So everyone has his/her own perspective on it. We all know that if someone is attacking our sovereignty, he/she should be punished at any cost, irrespective of his/her caste or religion. This is an issue which demands the highest degree of maturity, but sadly, every party has disappointed us.

Bal Govind

Noida, Uttar Pradesh

Amrita’s world

AMRITA SHER-GIL will be remembered for her confident and bold attitude in giving expression to the feminine world of her time (“Amrita’s village”, March 8). Often, the desires, dreams, ambitions and freedom of expression of Indian women remain hidden and unfulfilled. Amrita was a pioneer who inspired Indian women to follow their dreams.

She was mesmerised by the common people and nature but not by any ideology or blind patriotism. Like a photojournalist, she captured the real India, which is filled with agony, deprivation and poverty. Her paintings are like the pages of a diary, where every day is composed with feeling.

Uttam K. Bhowmik

Chandramerh, West Bengal

Suryanelli case

THE Supreme Court setting aside the acquittal of all the accused in the Suryanelli case has given people the hope that the gates of real justice are finally being opened for the victims of sexual brutality (“A rehearing in Kerala”, March 8). The order seems to have come against the backdrop of the gang rape of a trainee paramedic in Delhi. Perhaps this order is a prelude to the reopening of several sexual abuse cases that the rich and powerful have so far been able to keep buried. Unfortunately, Kerala has dozens of such cases.

Vani A.