I am the wife of Mohammad Afzal, the man accused of conspiring to attack the
Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001. Afzal has been condemned to death by the
Sessions Court Judge, S N Dhingra and his death sentence has been confirmed by
the Hon'ble High Court of Delhi. Now the case has come up before the Hon'ble
Supreme Court of India.
All over India people have condemned the attack on Parliament. And I agree
that it was a terrorist attack and must be condemned. However, it is also
important that the people accused of such a serious crime be given a fair trial
and their story be fully heard before they are punished. I believe that no one
has heard my husband's story and he has so far never been represented in the
I appeal to you to hear our story and then decide for yourselves whether
justice has been done. Afzal and my story is the story of many young Kashmiri
couples. Our story represents the tragedy facing our people.
In 1990 Afzal was attracted to the movement led by the JKLF, like thousands
of other youth. He went to Pakistan for training and stayed there for a little
while. However, he was disillusioned by the differences between different groups
and he did not support pro-Pakistani groups. He stayed there only three months
without getting any training. Afzal returned to Kashmir and he went to Delhi to
pursue his studies. He always wanted to study and before he joined the movement
he was doing his MBBS.
My husband wanted to return to normal life and with that intention he
surrendered to the BSF. The BSF Commandant refused to give him his certificate
till he had motivated two others to surrender. And Afzal motivated two other
militants to surrender. He was given a certificate stating that he was a
surrendered militant. You will not perhaps realise that it is very difficult to
live as a surrendered militant in Kashmir but he decided to live with his family
in Kashmir. In 1997 he started a small business of medicines and surgical
instruments in Kashmir. The next year we were married. He was 28 years old and I
was 18 years.
Throughout the period that we lived in Kashmir the Indian security forces
continuously harassed Afzal and told him to spy on people they suspected of
being militants. One Major Ram Mohan Roy of 22 Rashtriya Rifles tortured Afzal
and gave him electric shocks in his private parts. He was humiliated and abused.
The Indian security forces used to regularly take Afzal to their camps and
torture him. They wanted to extract information from him. One night the Indian
security forces came to our home and abused all of us and took away Afzal to
their camp; another time he was taken to the STF (State Task Force) camp
Some days later they took him to the Humhama STF camp. In that camp the
officers, DSP Vinay Gupta and DSP Darinder Singh demanded Rs one lakh. We are
not a rich family and we had to sell everything, including the little gold I got
on my marriage to save Afzal from the torture.
Afzal was kept in freezing water and petrol was put into his anus. One
officer Shanti Singh hanged my husband upside down for hours naked and in the
cold. They gave electric shocks in his penis and he had to have treatment for
You will think that Afzal must be involved in some militant activities that
is why the security forces were torturing him to extract information. But you
must understand the situation in Kashmir, every man, woman and child has some
information on the movement even if they are not involved. By making people into
informers they turn brother against brother, wife against husband and children
against parents. Afzal wanted to live quietly with his family but the STF would
not allow him.
You should also know that the STF force is notorious in Kashmir for extorting
money from the people and they have become so infamous that when Mufti Sayed
became the Chief Minister he promised in his election manifesto to disband the
entire force. The STF is known for human rights violations including killing
people in their custody and brutal, senseless, inhuman torture.
It was under these conditions that forced Afzal to leave his home, family and
settle in Delhi. He struggled hard to earn a living and he had decided to bring
me and our four-year old son, Ghalib, to Delhi. Like any other family we dreamed
of living together peacefully and bringing up our children, giving them a good
education and seeing them grow up to be good human beings. That dream was cut
short when once again the STF got hold of my husband in Delhi.
The STF told my husband to bring one man Mohammad to Delhi from Kashmir. He
met Mohammad and one other man Tariq there at the STF camp. He did not know
anything about the men and he had no idea why he was being asked to do the job.
He has told all this to the court but the court chose to believe half his
statement about bringing Mohammad but not the bit that he was told to do so by
There was no one to represent Afzal in the lower court. The court appointed a
lawyer who never took instructions from Afzal, or cross examined the prosecution
witnesses. That lawyer was communal and showed his hatred for my husband. When
my husband told Judge Dhingra that he did not want that lawyer the judge ignored
him. In fact my husband went totally undefended in the trial court. When ever my
husband wished to say something the judge would not hear him out and the judge
showed his communal bias in open court.
In the High Court one human rights lawyer offered to represent Afzal and my
husband accepted. But instead of defending Afzal the lawyer began by asking the
court not to hang Afzal but to kill him by a lethal injection. My husband never
expressed any desire to die. He has maintained that he has been entrapped by the
STF. My husband was shocked but he had no way of changing his lawyer while being
locked up in the high security jail. It was only after the High Court judgement
was pronounced he got to know about the way the lawyer had represented him.
Afzal refused to accept the same lawyer for his appeal in the Supreme Court. I
had no way of getting Afzal a lawyer. I do not know anyone in Delhi. Finally
Afzal wrote to the Defence Committee set up for Mr Geelani. I am annexing his
letter. And the Defence Committee helped Afzal to get a senior lawyer, Mr Sushil
Kumar. However, the Supreme Court cannot go into the evidence and so I do not
know what will happen.
I appeal to you to ensure that my husband is not condemned to death and he is
ensured a fair trial. Surely your conscience will not allow you to be a party to
the death of a fellow human being who has not been represented in the court and
who has not had a chance to tell his story? The police have made him falsely
confess before the media even before the trial started. They humiliated him,
beat him, tortured him and even urinated in his mouth. I feel deep shame to talk
about these things in public but circumstances have forced me. It has taken a
lot of courage for me to put all this on paper but I do so for the sake of my
child who is now six years old.
Will you speak out at the injustice my husband has faced? Will you speak out
on my behalf? I am of course fighting for my husband's life, for the life of my
son's father. But I also speak as a Kashmiri woman who is losing faith in Indian
democracy and its ability to be fair to Kashmiri Muslims.
This article originally appeared in Kashmir Times and is carried here
verbatim without any editing, for the record.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
"It is very disturbing and unfortunate that the people of India have totally disconnected themselves from the problems of Kashmir."
Connection is a two-way street - not one way - which is what we have made this to be.
This is a logical outcome of giving "special status". Lincoln a long time ago decided in a "union of states" it doesn't work to give "special status" - the Southern states wanted exactly that. The US founding fathers also didn't at the start when the small NE (New England) States asked for it. Of course, learning from history by humans is quite over-rated and that too learning from others history.
Kashmir is one mess where I do agree that a "feudal in mind/heart, and liberal in words with bookish theoritical knowledge" elite has created a mess with no real solutions with the direction chosen, like a parent tackling a difficult child with inconsistent application of force and love where both parties remain confused and very likely make a hash of the family, especially the child. In Kashmir on top for a huge amount of Indian taxpayers money spent - all we get is 2 feudal families running 2 parties and getting richer and richer every day along with a small group of their chamchas (coterie) - many who would be uncles/cousins, etc. Of course, this is a story in many Indian States, e.g., UP, but for a troubled state like Kashmir it spells continued disaster.
So yes as an Indian, I feel no empathy or connection - the only reason I think we shouldn't walk away is the risk of yet another "islamist" State on our border. Our neighboorhood is a serious disaster and cannot afford to add to it.
Only way I will feel any empathy, is if Kashmir asks for special status as a re-balancing of centre-state relationships more towards the model of American states and for all States of the Indian Union not just for itself as special case on some real/imagined history.
The Kind of Weeping and mourning w.r.to the death of Shri Afzal Guru , that has been manufactured by India's Feudal Liberal Folks is amazing - one is left to wonder if these liberals would have shed so much tears even if their own kith or kin have died...
What is the motivation of this Martyr Afzal Guri Industry? Is it the same as the motivation to desecularize the Kashmir Valley and convert it into an islamo fascist state?
Or is it to create foundations of another phase of aman-e-asha to help some business folks in recession struck india to find new markets ?
Ankit >> I feel the story of Afzal Guru is the tragic story of Kashmiris. It is very disturbing and unfortunate that the people of India have totally disconnected themselves from the problems of Kashmir.
The people of India have disconnected themselves from Kashmir problems, because the people of kashmir have discarded all principles of humanity and secularism and ejected an entire ethnic community living in the valley for ages in the name of freedom fighting and liberation.
Let the kashmir pandits be resettled in the valley and live as normal citizens without fear of the millitant talibanis, then let us reconnect with the valley's folks.
I feel the story of Afzal Guru is the tragic story of Kashmiris. It is very disturbing and unfortunate that the people of India have totally disconnected themselves from the problems of Kashmir. Most people (if not all) would not take to arms if assured of a safe and normal life (except of course the likes of Prince Harry who may take to war as a hobby or recreation). The hanging of Afzal Guru is soaked solely with political motives. I wonder how many more lives would be taken in the run up to the 2014 General Elections.
I was reading a post written by Arundhati Roy ( www.bit.ly/Vcv1z7 ) it said:
“What are the facts?”
“..like most surrendered militants Afzal was easy meat in Kashmir—a victim of torture, blackmail, extortion. Anybody who was really interested in solving the mystery of the Parliament Attack would have followed the dense trail of evidence that leads into the shadowy grid in Kashmir that connects militants to surrendered militants, renegades to Special Police Officers, the Special Operations Group to the Special Task Force, and upwards and onwards. And upwards and onwards. But now that Afzal Guru has been hanged, I hope our "collective conscience" has been satisfied. Or is our cup of blood still only half full?”
Personally, I have to agree that I we don’t know the truth… and would have liked to be known.
I have some question that makes me extremely sad and didn’t make me feel good:
I dont know what are the facts, and the truths; and I am not convinced with the government version, I need more convincing… but than who hell am I …common man (“we the people”) does it bother anyone… “our master”? Of course not…but I still do want my voice to be expressed…
If I were asked to pick an option: I would rather believe this young-lady, from a small town in Kashmir than believing the notorious law enforcement officers in Delhi/Kashmir. Many of them, if not all, are stupid, brutal and insensitive with almost no respect to human right. Its like USA’s CIA… you here about them all the time and court almost all the time, finds them wrong… But unlike US, we don’t have such court system… it’s slow, and inefficient. These policemen are essentially same folks who took hours to argue on legal issues rather then rushing to the hospital to help “the Damini” in the famous Delhi rape case. Ultimately, she was dead... and we still has a question: is she dead because of the brutal-rape/abuse, or she died due to the lack of immediate medical attention.
I mentioned this case here because i want everyone to be extremely careful before believing the "police" stories...
Think about your feelings about the famous Indian police, do you trust them (all), 100%... or you trust some of those great police officers (say 20%) who are also part of the same organization?
I want to make it extremely clear that I do feel that Mr Guru, who was involved into wrongful criminal activities (at least in past) and did do something to put himself into such situation… there's no smoke without fire, so plz give me a break here Ms Guru, your husband was involved in unlawful activities and he deserved some sort of punishment for his actions. Of course those police officers also deserved the punishment for their unlawful activities and no one is (“should be”) above the law...
How much he was involved?
what role did he play?
why he became involved?
what were the circumstances?
And was he subjected to a fair and unbiased court-trail?
I don’t have an answer to these questions and if I have to answer a question that if he got justice, my answer would be NOT SURE …I don’t believe he got 100% justice.
And this is what really bothers me. I am also bothered about the fact that this makes his family, specially, his child, more venerable. Now, he will be subjected to many social pressures and prejudice. He doesn’t deserve this, he has no fault, and the same is applicable for his wife, she deserved a fair life ahead. I am writing this to give them a moral support that we all don’t buy the government story and we, as citizen, are here to support you even though we are not in position to do much. Your son will have a reason to find a support that all was not well and his family went though a lot. And no, we all didn’t feel convinced that his father deserved the treatment what he got, it was unfair…there were questions and it will remain this way as he is no more.
Also, no one is foolish to buy the “organized jail interview of your father (Mr Guru)… anyone with little brain would know that no jail will allow such interview to be conducted if they have not “assured” that the interview was in their favor… infect such kind of actives has put the entire case into a great suspicion. How often you see such kind of interviews are conducted, who is fool here? Of course those stupid officers who thought that people are going to buy such bullshit… and many will buy it… that’s what happens when’s… its chain… militants are fooling people to join them to “fight” for “freedom” and pay them money and “respect” and the government is fooling people by feeding such bullshit so that we buy into it.. Untimely, people suffer. Either one as to be victim of those militant by blowing themselves as a “suicide bomb” or face “death” without a “fair trial”. In both the cases you have to suffer, as you are being stupid.
So coming back to the topic, what also bothers me now is:
Are we really treating well to those youth in Kashmir who is willing to leave gun?
What was the purpose to such programme?
Wasn’t the purpose to being them into a "normal life" and rehabilitee them, Have we done a good job, what more needs to be done?
What happened to the charges that were raised against the law enforcements and paramilitary forces (BSF/STF)? Were any of such charges been envisaged and concluded?
What about the observations made my Supreme Court and high court “Mr guru was forced to accept charges by the police” did someone took any action? Are those officers been promoted or been suspended?
What have we done to stop such cases being repeated in future?
Is our police and enforcement agencies going through a great stress to look for an "scapegoat" to get the "task" done? Are they working without a “pressure”?
Now, how would we feel if someone close to us had said such story what is been said here in this article? Do any one of us is in a position to make judgment, without any doubt, that what is been told here is an utter lie, and far from being truth? If we are not 100% sure, do we have a right to doubt a person who is under a great stress and fighting for her life every day…since last 10 years? And will have to fight in future also? Please think about it.
Why any of our politician such as Mr MM Singh, Mr P Chidambaram, Mr Kapil Sibal, Mr Kamal Nath, Mr Omar Abdullah, Mr Ram Jethmalani, Mr Arun Jaitley, Ms Karat etc, who claimed to be "highly sensitive" and were in position to do something, didn’t pickup this case and offered a solution that would convince many of us, at least non Kashmiri, if not all the people, including the people in Kashmir. This would have help to our fellow citizen who stand before the court to fight for his life?
Why did they not have money (and the resources) to get a lawyer and way many of the so called Kishmiri politician/group or muslim organizations or so called pro-islam leader such as Great Digvijaya Singh, Mr Mulayam singh Yadav, Mr Rahul Gandhi (who cook their food on Muslim voters and fool them) offered them some support to subject them to a fair trial. This would have addressed some objections, if not all. And this was for all is us, for the family and for us, as a fellow citizen.
Did all of us deserve a fair trial, no matter how brutal a crime have we conducted (if we did)... if yes, why not give a fair trail to our fellow citizen as well? Isn’t it the basic principle of justice system in which society our a great faith?
More questions than answers... not good and this kind of stuffs are not sustainable for a great society. It didn’t look fair and our "collective conscience" wasn’t satisfied, perhaps not by handing someone with a lot of doubt... and not mine, for sure, if I am to be included in "our society" as a law-abiding citizen of India.
What have we, as society, have to do to make sure that injustice is not being subjected to his wife and son who has the entire life ahead of them? Isn’t nation responsible to protect them (citizen) and their right from any unfair treatment?
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT