Principles of fair trial were never followed in Afzal, Bhat’s case: Justice Masoodi

Srinagar: Awami Itehaad Party (AIP) on Saturday organized a seminar titled ‘Is capital punishment a solution’.
The spokesman as per the statement issued here said that people from every nook and corner of the Valley, hailing from different walks of life participated in a daylong seminar.
Breaking all traditions the seminar was presided by a 90 year brave heart namely Sabaz Ali who had lost his three sons and is feeding nearly a dozen orphans, the spokesman said.
“All the speakers mostly heirs of martyrs and victims of violence took the pledge that Kashmiris will never scum to pressure tactics and use of brutal force by New Delhi as they are seeking resolution to Kashmir dispute through Right to self determination for the larger interests of people of the sub continent,” the spokesman said, adding that emotional scenes were witnessed when dozens of parents and others spoke how Army and security agencies butchered their near and dear ones during last 30 years but New Delhi not only denied the justice but did everything to prove innocent unarmed civilians as ‘terrorists’.
Retired Justice Hasnain had sent his speech in writing, which was read out at the seminar, saying “death penalty once executed leaves no room for correction of error and undue mistrial.”
He said severe punishment like death penalty presupposes fair trial.
Referring to Afzal Guru’s and Maqbool Bhat’s hangings, Retired Justice Masoodi said, “In case of Mohammad Maqbool Bhat and Mohammad Afzal Guru, the principles of fair trial are fair execution were never followed. In case of Maqbool Bhat, the sentence was imposed in 1968 and executed in 1984 after 16 long years. The Supreme Court has time and again laid down that where for one or the other reason the execution of death penalty gets delayed, it should not be executed as the prisoner in the prison cell dies almost daily.”
“While awaiting the execution and the long delays itself dehumanizing even long pendency of the punishment and the death sentence should have been commuted. In case of Afzal Guru the execution of death sentence was hurried and though far behind in the queue the sentence was executed that too without information to his family. In both the cases it is highly doubtful whether adequate legal assistance was provided during the trial. None from the legal luminaries came forward to defend them and it was left to the trial court to appoint an amicus curie,” AIP statement quoted him as said.
Speaking on the occasion, AIP president and MLA Langate, Engineer Abdul Rasheed Sheikh reiterated that Kashmiris are not enemies of India and they will be the biggest beneficiaries of peace between India and Pakistan.
“Had hanging been a solution, no one would have dared to take up to arms after Maqbool Bhat’s hanging and after Afzal Gurus hanging what happened in Kashmir is ample reason to conclude that death punishment should be abolished,” he said.
Er Rasheed added that while Hurriyat represents sentiments and sacrifices of People of J&K, the need of the hour is that Hurriyat leadership should earn well wishers for the movement and not count everyone on the other side.
He said the fight is much bigger as New Delhi is doing everything to divide Kashmiris, creating confusions and avoids a resolution. “If Kashmiris are not united and lack a proper workable strategy, masses will just go on sacrificing and leaders will continue to wait for searching opportunities to propagate their agenda whatsoever,” he said.
Er Rasheed added that “whatsoever valid questions Afzal Guru’s wife has raised from time to time, we all need to introspect and find the answers.”
He condemned behavior of the police and civil administration for cancelling the permission granted for holding seminar in Hotel Lala Rukh and said that “party was informed at 11:00 PM in the night about the decision and the act was just yet one more evidence of frustration on part of the Govt.”
He thanked people from all walks of life for making their presence to the seminar and listening around 35 speakers during the day.
Prominent lawyers, political activists and scholars explained in detail how the capital punishment was a disaster throughout the world and a barrier in establishing peace.

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