Afzal Guru, the prime accused in the 2001 parliament attack, was secretly hanged yesterday morning and his body was interred in Tihar Jail.
In the last 24 hours we have written extensively about the political reasons and implications behind the timing of the hanging. Rajeev Sharma writes that with one stroke, the government has effectively silenced the BJP’s shouting brigade that did not let go of a single chance to lambast the UPA for not executing Guru for the past seven-and-a-half years ever since the Supreme Court confirmed his death sentence on 4 August 2005. He however points out that after the back-to-back secret hangings of Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru, the Congress will have a tough time explaining when Rajiv Gandhi's assassins will be hanged.
In The Hindu's comprehensive and detailed coverage today, that you must not miss, Anjali Modi who covered the parliamentary attack case trial in 2002 raises a few important points. She writes:
There were no witnesses against Mohammed Afzal. Those said to be his co-conspirators were acquitted (Geelani, Shaukat and Afsan), died (Mohammed) or vanished (Tariq). Indeed, a close examination of the case would suggest that he was a witness against himself. He made confessions and willingly led the police to the places and people he had visited. The only other evidence against him are telephone instruments and SIM cards that the police claim to have recovered from him at the time of his arrest, different depending on which police jurisdiction was involved. Besides, one SIM card had been in use before it was sold to him. How different courts interpreted this makes fascinating reading and raises questions about why the case for Afzal Guru’s death was pursued with so much zeal.