Omar Abdullah Fears Rise In Militancy If Afzal Is Hanged28 September 2011
The Economic Times
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said he was worried that the hanging of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru could revive militancy in the state. 'I have to be concerned about the hanging of Afzal Guru. It has implications not just for the state but for the centre too,' he told Headlines Today news channel. He noted that a generation of militants was born in Kashmir following the execution of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) leader Muhammad Maqbool Bhat in 1984. 'I cannot and will not forget that an entire generation of militants was born because of the hanging of Maqbool Bhat. I have to be concerned that Afzal Guru's hanging can once again revive militancy at a time when it is down,' Abdullah said. 'I am not in favour of the death penalty. It has not served as a deterrent for either murders or terrorism,' he said. The state assembly was set to debate the resolution seeking clemency for Afzal Guru Wednesday but this did not happen due to disruptions. Abdullah also questioned the policies of some political parties on similar issues like clemency for people on death row. 'While it is okay to ask clemency for Rajiv Gandhi's killers and while it is okay also to ask mercy for (Khalistani terrorist Devinder Pal Singh) Bhullar, why is it wrong for J and K to even discuss and debate clemency? Is it because Afzal Guru is a Kashmiri Muslim?' he asked. He also questioned why Jammu and Kashmir is constantly called upon to prove that they are a part of India when no other state is asked to do the same. 'Death sentences should satisfy legal needs, not public perception,' he said, adding that death sentence only converts convicts into martyrs. 'It is better to put them in jail for the rest of their lives because then most people will forget about them,' he suggested. The chief minister also took a dig at the separatists and questioned their so-called desire not to seen Afzal Guru hang. 'I can tell you that privately they will be thrilled if he is hanged because it will give them a boost,' he said. On his tweets on controversial issues, he said: 'I will be tweeting less on controversial issues but there is no way I am quitting Twitter. It is an effective medium to communicate. I will not betray my 60,000 followers.'