October 2006 News

New Delhi warned against hanging

14 October 2006
The Dawn

New Delhi: India will “go up in flames” if it hangs a Muslim militant convicted for his role in an attack on parliament in 2001, a former chief minister of Indian Kashmir was quoted as saying. Last month a New Delhi court set October 20 as the date for the hanging of Kashmiri Mohammed Afzal, triggering violent protests in occupied Kashmir. “You want to hang him? Go ahead and hang him ... this nation will go up in flames because the terrorists will do things which will destroy the relationship of the Hindus and Muslims here,” Farooq Abdullah told CNN-IBN TV news. “Kashmir will anyway go up in flames ... there will (also) be turmoil which India will have to face. I am telling you.” Mr Abdullah, a senior Kashmiri politician whose pro-India National Conference party has often ruled the held state, was speaking in an interview to be telecast on Sunday, excerpts of which were released by the channel on Saturday. Afzal was sentenced to death for his role in the attack when five gunmen stormed the parliament complex. The gunmen were all shot dead. Kashmiri leaders have said hanging Afzal would fuel the uprising against Indian rule in occupied Kashmir. “You will be making him a hero for centuries to come ... you are giving a massive weapon to the separatists in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” Mr Abdullah told CNN-IBN. Afzal’s wife has asked Indian President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for clemency for her husband. It is not clear if the hanging will be carried out on the set date as the president considers the clemency plea. Most Indians think Afzal should be hung, partly to send a message to militants and because of the serious nature of the parliament raid in 2001. “While he deserves the stringent punishment for a crime against the nation, his case does not fit into the set of ‘the rarest of rare cases’ that invite capital punishment.”


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