Kashmir Times– 18 FEB by Ravi Nitesh
Inspite of unavailabity of sufficient evidence and any direct linkages with terrorists groups, Afzal guru was awarded death and hanged after the order of the apex court of India.
Many points have been argued regarding the punishment and its nature. Somewhere, it is argued that it was illegal to award death in spite of no concrete evidence, somewhere it was on the basis of abolition of death penalty for anyone, somewhere it was something else. All those arguments were well and rightly said, in fact resisted the suppression of state. But, when I focus more, I find that story doesn’t end here, it goes ahead. When I think more, I find that suppression doesn’t end here, it goes ahead. Now apart from whether it was right or wrong, Afzal not only received the sentence awarded by the Supreme Court of India, he is still receiving continuous punishment even after the highest punishment he could get. To argue my claims upon this dual punishment by Indian state, one needs to move beyond and after the execution of Afzal Guru.
When the court had ordered death penalty, it had awarded it to a person who was alive. It was the maximum penalty that the supreme court could give i.e. to ‘kill’ and to ‘extract’ life from the body, not beyond that. It was the penalty that was applicable to the living person who was the accused.
But amazingly, the Indian State, the largest democracy, has claimed even the dead body of the accused (Afzal) even after completion of the punishment it had awarded.
How can the dead body face another exploitation and imprisonment by the State? Why and how did the judiciary not intervene in the matter and instruct the state to return the body to the family or does its jurisdiction end with the completion of awarded penalty. How can it imprison Afzal after his death? Is it not a double punishment or is this act of refusal to give back Afzal Guru’s body allowed under the Indian constitution itself?
After completion of punishment, the State cannot continue to consider him or his body as an accused. This biased, partial and oppressive acts of state are ironical in the so claimed largest democracy.
Now, if the state thinks that Afzal is its property, it should know that state has no authority over him after the life. A living body can be an accused but how can a dead one be? Also, state must think that life of Afzal also belonged to his family and friends and therefore they all have every right over his body. They were kept away by imprisoning Afzal who was alive, but they cannot be separated any more from his dead body.