Joint Press Statement
We, the undersigned, wish to express our shock and outrage at the secretive, unethical and blatantly inhuman murder by hanging of Afzal Guru, by the Indian State. This action was undertaken despite evident doubt in establishing Afzal Guru’s guilt in the Parliament Attack case. In fact, the honourable High Court had clearly stated that the evidence against Afzal Guru had been fabricated, and the honourable Supreme Court had stated that death sentence would be awarded to Afzal Guru only to satisfy the collective conscience of the nation. Moreover, we are astounded by the extreme impropriety of the decision to swiftly bury Afzal Guru’s body in Tihar Jail, rather than returning it to his family for the due and final rites. This shameful secretive manner of hanging and burying political prisoners should be immediately seized.
And shockingly and outrageously, when various groups, organizations, and individuals had gathered at Jantar Mantar today to protest peacefully against the hanging, they were viciously and brutally assaulted by RSS and Shiv Sena cadres, as well as by the Delhi Police. Astoundingly, instead of arresting these cadres, the police arrested the protestors after attacking them. Simultaneously, Prof. SAR Geelani was picked up swiftly by the police and remains in custody on unknown charges. After his arrest, Geelani has not even been allowed to meet lawyers despite several requests from senior lawyers to meet him. We also understand that Iftikar Geelani, journalist, was also arrested. But due to heavy pressure from fellow journalists, he was finally released in the evening. Further, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and his family were harassed in their home in Malviya Nagar. We are also given to understand that similar violent police action has taken place against peaceful protests by cultural groups on the same issue in Hyderabad. These outrageous attempts to suppress democratic dissent constitute more in the growing number of instances of the blatant collusion of right-wing fundamentalist forces with the repressive organs of the state.
We condemn, strongly and unequivocally, both the unjust, shameful and unconscionable hanging of Afzal Guru as well as the unlawful detention of SAR Geelani and the harassment of his family. We also condemn in the same terms the unprovoked assault on peaceful protestors and their illegal arrest. We condemn the heavy deployment of police outside the Gandhi Peace Foundation during the event organized by the Forum Against War on People. We demand that the Indian state return Afzal Guru’s body to his family immediately. We also demand stringent punishment of the errant police officers involved in the fabrication of evidence against Afzal Guru. We also demand that any Presidential decision to reject a clemency petition should be followed by enough time to permit judicial review as per the due process of the law.
Individuals: B. D. Sharma, Sumit Chakravarty, Subrat Kumar Sahu, Shyamla Mustafa Muhammad, Nandita Narain, Karen Gabriel, PK Vijayan, Radha Kapuria, Hany Babu, Jenny Rowena, Pankhuri Dasgupta, Pratik Ali, Amartya Kanjilal, Dhruv Jain, Babita, Pawan Kumar Gupta, Kamlesh, Arbind Kumar, Santosh, Josna, Rohit Joshi, Vijendra, Saroj Giri, Srinivas Burra.
Organizations: Mazdoor Patrika; JNU Forum Against War on People; Campaign Against War on People, DU; Democratic Students’ Union (DSU); Revolutionary Democratic Front (RDF); Naga Students’ Union, Delhi (NSUD); National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations (NCHRO); Campus Front of India (CFI); Nowroz; Krantikari Naujawan Sabha (KNS); Students Islamic Organization (SIO); All India Students Association (AISA); Pragitisheel Mahila Ekta Kendra; Inquilabi Mazdoor Kendra (IMK); Delhi General Mazdoor Front; Bharat Jan Andolan.