Sayeed makes emotional plea to PM for Afzal Guru’s body


Srinagar : People’s Democratic Party (PDP) patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed Tuesday wrote an emotional letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking return of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru’s body to his family, saying it could “retrieve trust” of the state’s people.

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The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister described the measure as “the least that can now be done to retrieve whatever little can be of the trust of the people in Kashmir”.

In the letter the contents of which were released by the PDP to the media Tuesday, Sayeed said: “I am writing this letter after an agonizing fortnight that in my opinion witnessed all the effort at rebuilding a relationship of trust between Kashmir and rest of the country almost evaporate into thin air.”

He contended that the manner in which Guru was executed in secrecy and “very obvious unholy haste is not just another hugely negative reference point in our painful history but it could have the potential to redefine the very nature of how the people here would view their status within the union”.

Sayeed said he was “deeply anxious” about its possible effect on younger generations “who had been struggling to come out of a nightmarish experience of life marked by blood and tragedy”.

He said that an overwhelming majority of people here and most of the secular, liberal public opinion in the country have expressed their reservations about the quality of trial Afzal received.

“While it is too late now to mention that beyond its academic and historical significance it is the events that preceded and followed the hanging that have become such a sore point the like of which I have not witnessed in my fifty years of public life.”

“The fact that the feeling of pain and anger did not erupt the way some had perhaps apprehended may not be construed as an absence of it,” he contended.

Hitting out at the government, he said: “Never in a democracy of our size and quality is a convict culled out of a queue from serial number 28 and sent to gallows.”

“Never is a dying convict denied a last meeting with his family. Never is a condemned man denied what is now established as a last chance to seek judicial intervention after spending 12 years in jail.”

“The people of Kashmir felt he was hanged because the noose fitted only the neck of a man of Afzal’s description and given the sad history of state’s association with the union, they easily relate themselves with his fate,” he said.

Public opinion cutting across political affiliations in Kashmir has demanded that Afzal’s body be returned to his family for an honourable burial as per Islamic rites.