The above picture shows some political workers from the ruling Congress Party burning an effigy of a Kashmiri man Afzal Guru who has been condemned to death by hanging for his alleged involvement in the attack on the Indian Parliament.
Here is the letter written by his wife, Tabassum, republished on the website of Outlook magazine. Please read this letter. I cannot claim any authoritative knowledge of the case but what is so powerful about this letter, apart from its description of the way in which terror suspects are denied due process, is its testimony about the making of a terrorist. Here are excerpts:
I am the wife of Mohammad Afzal, the man accused of conspiring to attack the Indian Parliament on December 13, 2001.
In 1990 Afzal was attracted to the movement led by the JKLF, like thousands of other youth. He went to Pakistan for training and stayed there for a little while. However, he was disillusioned by the differences between different groups and he did not support pro-Pakistani groups.
My husband wanted to return to normal life and with that intention he surrendered to the BSF. The BSF Commandant refused to give him his certificate till he had motivated two others to surrender. And Afzal motivated two other militants to surrender. He was given a certificate stating that he was a surrendered militant. You will not perhaps realise that it is very difficult to live as a surrendered militant in Kashmir but he decided to live with his family in Kashmir. In 1997 he started a small business of medicines and surgical instruments in Kashmir. The next year we were married. He was 28 years old and I was 18 years.
Throughout the period that we lived in Kashmir the Indian security forces continuously harassed Afzal and told him to spy on people they suspected of being militants. One Major Ram Mohan Roy of 22 Rashtriya Rifles tortured Afzal and gave him electric shocks in his private parts. He was humiliated and abused.
The Indian security forces used to regularly take Afzal to their camps and torture him. They wanted to extract information from him. One night the Indian security forces came to our home and abused all of us and took away Afzal to their camp; another time he was taken to the STF (State Task Force) camp Palhalan Pattan.
Some days later they took him to the Humhama STF camp. In that camp the officers, DSP Vinay Gupta and DSP Darinder Singh demanded Rs one lakh. We are not a rich family and we had to sell everything, including the little gold I got on my marriage to save Afzal from the torture.
You will think that Afzal must be involved in some militant activities that is why the security forces were torturing him to extract information. But you must understand the situation in Kashmir, every man, woman and child has some information on the movement even if they are not involved. By making people into informers they turn brother against brother, wife against husband and children against parents. Afzal wanted to live quietly with his family but the STF would not allow him.
To sign a petition on behalf of Afzal Guru, go here.