Jammu and Kashmir’s ruling National Conference and opposition Peoples Democratic Party were Monday on the same page, wondering why relief was granted to convicted terrorist Devender Pal Singh Bhullar by the apex court but denied to parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.
In separate statements, the NC and the PDP said the Supreme Court’s decision to commute the death sentence of Bhullar highlighted stark discrimination somewhere in the system.
“The decision by the Supreme Court to commute Devender Pal Singh Bhullar’s death sentence into life imprisonment highlighted stark discrimination somewhere in our system that made the central government to expedite the death sentence of Afzal Guru without him being afforded adequate opportunities and provisions to appeal for mercy, as was done in Bhullar’s case,” said NC spokesman Junaid Mattu.
“While we do not resent, nor oppose the relief provided to Bhullar, we cannot help but wonder why this couldn’t be done in Afzal Guru’s case.”
Mattu said both the legal process that led to the execution of Afzal Guru as well as the manner of his execution raised a lot of questions about the objectivity and neutrality of the legal system.
“Guru’s family and the people of this state have felt an enormous and palpable amount of discrimination and cannot help, but wonder if there are double standards in our country when it comes to such cases,” he said.
Reacting to the Supreme Court decision on Bhullar, who was convicted in the 1993 Delhi bomb blast, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said: “It is another example of double standards adopted while dealing with Kashmir. Every such development re-opens the wounds of Kashmiris.”
Addressing roadside meetings in Tral assembly segment of Anantnag Lok Sabha constituency from where she is fighting elections, Mehbooba said such discriminatory approach about Kashmir needs to be responded forcefully to prevent its repetition and that needs a united and strong response at political level and through democratic institutions.
She said Guru will keep reminding Kashmiris about the miscarriage of justice in the entire process of dealing with his conviction.
The PDP president said if elected, she and her PDP will strive to build a national consensus on Kashmir so that the prevailing mistrust between New Delhi and Kashmir is minimized and there is a forward movement on Kashmir.