Citizens Statement on the Execution of Afzal Guru

We, concerned citizens from parts of India, are shocked by the secretive manner of the execution of Afzal Guru who was accused in the Parliament attack case and condemn the continued use of death penalty. We are also dismayed to know that his family members were not informed about the hanging and his body was not handed over to them as per colonial prison rules that should be revised immediately. As there are a number of doubts in his case regarding the evidence produced that was primarily circumstantial in nature and that he was not provided proper legal assistance at the trial stage, sentencing for life should have been the preferred option.

The timing of the execution with elections around the corner is giving rise to strong suspicion that this decision could have been guided not just by judicial considerations but also by political exigencies, and hence is a matter for concern for democratic traditions and civilized values of our society.

All acts of terror and criminality deserve exemplary punishment but death penalty should not be used as a punishment as we all recognize that the process of justice always contains the possibility of error and misjudgment. Hence all judicial decisions should have the scope for review and redress. Death Penalty has no such scope. Further, the choice of awarding life sentence or death penalty rests solely on the judge hearing the case. Thus the personal stand of different members of the judiciary can have crucial bearing on the judgment.

In the US, the state of taxes has the largest rate of death penalty and the largest number of lethal crimes. The history of capital punishment has shown that it does not have any deterrent effect on crime. And thus there is nothing in its favour. A number of countries across the world have already abolished death penalty. Larger and larger sections of democratic opinion in this country and all over the world have been demanding that Capital Punishment be removed from the statue books since it is cruel, violent and violates the sanctity of human life. We demand immediate steps to abolish the death penalty.

Admiral L. Ramdas- Ali Bagh
Mahesh Bhatt- Mumbai
Prof. Achin Vanaik- New Delhi
Prof. Rama Melkote- Hyderabad
Prof. Ritu Diwan- Mumbai
Dr. Sandeep Panday-Lucknow
Lalita Ramdas- Ali Bagh
Dr. Mazher Hussain- Hyderabad
Dr. Ram PuniyanMumbai
Prof. Kamal Mitra Chenoy- New Delhi
Irfan Engineer- Mumbai
Dr, Samata Roshni- Hyderabad
K. Sajaya – Hyderabad
Anuradha – Hyderabad
Ambica- Hyderabad
Jatin Desai- Mumbai
Jeevan Kumar- Hyderabad

Justice poster

  • john dayal

    fully endorse the statement

    • Milind Kotwal

      I agree with you on one count that Hanging Afzal guru appears to be a political decision considering 2014 elections, and government should have guts and conviction to implement the court order openly without secrecy.

      However I do not agree that death penalty should be done away with It is like saying lets us do away with locks because thefts do occur in spite of putting locks such suggestions can come only from people who have skewed understanding of the world

      I would like to ask the people who have created the poster whether they believe in democracy ???

      If yes then how could they say When collective Conscience becomes bigger than Justice then we have Stoning of women, massacre and Attack of Nations.

      a completely laughable statement which shows inadequate understanding of the issue.

  • ajaya kumar singh

    it was unfair trial of guru. abolition death penalty

    • Milind Kotwal

      I agree with you on one count that Hanging Afzal guru appears to be a political decision considering 2014 elections, and government should have guts and conviction to implement the court order openly without secrecy.

      However I do not agree that death penalty should be done away with It is like saying lets us do away with locks because thefts do occur in spite of putting locks such suggestions can come only from people who have skewed understanding of the world

      I would like to ask the people who have created the poster whether they believe in democracy ???

      If yes then how could they say When collective Conscience becomes bigger than Justice then we have Stoning of women, massacre and Attack of Nations.

      a completely laughable statement which shows inadequate understanding of the issue.

      • Vinay Gopal

        What is an ‘adequate understanding of the issue’, then, which you obviously possess? Do educate.

        • Milind Kotwal

          You need to first answer my question… that whether you believe in democracy ?

  • Pritam Singh

    Thanks citizens for having spoken up.

    • Milind Kotwal

      I agree with you on one count that Hanging Afzal guru appears to be a political decision considering 2014 elections, and government should have guts and conviction to implement the court order openly without secrecy.

      However I do not agree that death penalty should be done away with It is like saying lets us do away with locks because thefts do occur in spite of putting locks such suggestions can come only from people who have skewed understanding of the world

      I would like to ask the people who have created the poster whether they believe in democracy ???

      If yes then how could they say When collective Conscience becomes bigger than Justice then we have Stoning of women, massacre and Attack of Nations.

      a completely laughable statement which shows inadequate understanding of the issue.

  • Milind Kotwal

    I agree with you on one count that Hanging Afzal guru appears to be a political decision considering 2014 elections, and government should have guts and conviction to implement the court order openly without secrecy….

    However I do not agree that death penalty should be done away with… It is like saying lets us do away with locks because thefts do occur in spite of putting locks …such suggestions can come only from people who have skewed understanding of the world…

  • Milind Kotwal

    I would like to ask the people who have created the poster … whether they believe in democracy ???

    If yes then how could they say “When collective Conscience becomes bigger than Justice then we have Stoning of women, massacre and Attack of Nations….”

    a completely laughable statement which shows inadequate understanding of the issue….

  • Jyoti Thyagarajan

    Again and again, decisions like these diminish the stand of thoughtful citizens like us. It only showcases, unfortunately, the knee-jerk reaction of the angry population of this country. This is less than fair.

    • Milind Kotwal

      I am not angry, but my post asks a very clear question … whether you believe in democracy is the best way to rule, if it is yes then you have to accept what ever majority says …. you have only option of changing the public opinion through dialogue or systemic changes…

      If you do not believe in democracy … please say so openly…

      or if you think that there should be calibrated freedom … say so openly…

  • angela alvares

    Azfal should have been rewarded for leaving the separatist group and returning to normalcy. Instead he was tortured and hounded all his life. What kind of message does this send to young Kashmiris or other Indians who happen to be lured into terror outfits by chance or bad luck?. That they should never leave the outfit? If they do they will be stalked for life by society? Won’t this message only increase terrorism?
    We need younger and more alert Presidents as this present one has been found sleeping on the job and
    probably did not have the energy to look into the victim’s side of the story. Talking about appeasing collective conscience and hanging a man on ‘circumstancial evidence” extracted through torture will not appeal nor appease the collective conscience of any decent citizen. I am greatly disturbed by this gross injustice meted out to this man and his family.

  • Kamal Mitra Chenoy

    The death penalty is a barbaric colonial practice that has outlived its time. Not only lots of countries, but even states like Texas in the US have found that despite the highest number of death penalties, the amount of killings is the highest. So death penalty is no deterrent. It is a bitter irony that in the land of Buddha, Asoka and Gandhi, this flawed and inhuman practice continues. I attended some days of the trial of Afzal Guru and SAR Geelani. Courts made unproven negative comments against Geelani. He was lucky he was not sentenced. Guru got insufficient and episodic legal aid. This is a major moral issue of justice. Concepts of “collective conscience” are brought in. How do courts apply this concept in such a huge and diverse country? Would “collective conscience” be the same in J&K, and say Haryana? This has been a miscarriage of justice. I hang my head in shame.

  • Fatima.

    A land where our Father of Nation believed in the principle of Ahimsa or Non Violence towards all living beings including animals, an act of death penalty/hanging is for sure not acceptable and a piece to bow our heads down in shame. Many questions to be answered for this hasteful action…. !!
    For sure DEMOCRACY in question….. ??