An unsophisticated state Vs Mohd Afzal
There is a whole lot of debate going on in the blogosphere about the convicted terrorist Mohammed Afzal. As with so many other issues, the Indian blogosphere is light years ahead of the mainstream media in terms of analysis – even without having the same access to the corridors of power.
The bottomline is that we are increasingly becoming an unsophisticated state. We unable to see through deviousness nor communicate it when we do. How quickly the same newspapers who urged for a harsh punishment for the perpetrators have now forgotten their own editorial opinions ? Just for curiosity’s sake – I pulled up the archives of newspapers dated Dec 14, 2001 – the day after the terrorists struck.
… the five militants who stormed the Parliament complex have been killed, they could not have perpetrated this outrage without the support of a well-knit organisation. It is vital that those responsible for investigating the attack determine the identity of the group and come down both quickly and heavily on it. A failure to do so will only heighten the vulnerability of a nation which has been rudely shaken by the attack…
The Hindu Dec 14, 2001 Read full edit here
We wonder what does “come down heavily” mean to the Hindu ?
We are so unsophisticated that we cant even place a check on the most obvious : “Mohammed Afzal is not asking for clemency – others are asking for him on his behalf”
To the village idiot, this small detail means nothing. Does it really matter whether Afzal or his wife asks for clemency ? Probably not even worth writing a story on, right ?
WRONG! This is the core of the issue.
You see Mohd Afzal is a hardcore jihadi, this is self-evident from his refusal to ask for clemency himself. A jihadi will never cry and ask for mercy that too from a kufir state like India. Yet, they will make political hay by asking others to lobby on his behalf and thus preserving his violent terrorist holy warrior image. Our media will faithfully carry his views that “I have lost faith in Indian justice” and so forth. The flip side is he and his followers can trash talk India, its judicial framework, its police, its government, and how he is being executed because he is a Kashmiri. Our media will faithfully broadcast the rantings of a convicted terrorist on death row.
Even a moderately sophisticated government would first insist on a WRITTEN clemency note from Afzal himself and a VIDEO RECORDED clemency petition. No wife(s), minor sons,cousins, well wishers, co-accused, or politicians. Just insist on this and see how the equations change.
- Most bloggers are confused by their opposition to the death penalty vis-a-vis the clemecy petition. See, if there was no death penalty – we would have no clemecy petition, would we ?. Please state your arguments for a total ban on the death penalty independent of Mohammed Afzals case. Polite Indian on death penalty,
- Bloggers believe the people who discredit our judiciary and weaken our state. If he did not get adequate legal help, then Arundhati Roy, Nandhhita Haksar, congress party (except Digvijay Singh), J&K politicians, JKLF leadership – should have pooled in money and setup a “Save Afzal Fund” and arranged for legal help. Dont worry, there are enough lawyers in India who will defend anything for money! You cant clam up and come to the surface after the trial is over and three courts have pronounced him guilty. Why didnt Nanditha Haksar a so called “civil rights activist and closely associated with the rights of defendents in the Parliament attack case” tell us about this earlier ? Why did she not put together a “Save Afzal Fund” ? These kinds of funds are setup in the USA for many defendents fighting the death sentence. The irony is that Nandita herself is a leading Supreme Court lawyer – why was she not able to clear him in court ? Every convict will claim that the courts suck and every acquit will say the court system rocks. This dont mean nothing. Anoop Saha
- They are neither wrong nor right, they are just against some people. In stunning displays of naivete they will oppose an issue just based on who supports it. Dilip at Other India , Shivam Vij
To sum up: Reality Checks position on this issue.
- The clemency petition has to come from Afzal directly. This is a must to avoid granting clemency to a remorseless killer. You cannot and must not establish a precedent here.
- The state must adopt a scheming course of Chanakyagiri here, dont be afraid of being evil and cunning when dealing with these people.
- If you can discredit Jihadism and extract assurances and statements of remorse from the various terrorist supporters of Afzal – AND – if you are sophisicated enough to play the media and appear to be a benevolent state who granted mercy on a terrorist who has himself discredited the jihad concept – then by all means grant the clemency. The gains must be immediate and obvious – the bulk of the terrorist outfits and people like Geelani must stand discredited and the state must stand as a benevolent but strong master to a killer who has openly expressed remorse for his actions – and who has openly denounced the concept of Jihad.
- If we cant pull off (3), then please dont interfere with the law. Let it run its course and at least ensure justice is delivered to the families of the six brave men who defended the soul of our democracy one fine December morning five years ago.
Thanks for listening.