Honestly I cannot make up my mind whether this man should hang. Agreed he and his fellow conspirators mounted the biggest assault on Indian democracy by organizing the terror attack on Indian parliament. If a handful of brave security personnel hadn’t risked life and limb, the terrorists may well have entered Parliament House and killed MPs and ministers.

There could have been a prolonged hostage drama with the Kashmiri militants demanding and getting several of their jailed colleagues released. The Rubaiya Sayeed episode from more than 15 years ago would have been replayed magnified several times. The soft underbelly of the Indian state would have stood widely exposed for the whole world while a handful of desperadoes ripped it open.

A shaken NDA government at the Centre would not have let Pakistan off the hook as easily as it happened subsequently. There would have been much more pressure on the remnants of the government surviving the assault for an all out war notwithstanding the threat of a nuclear exchange.

Cynical as the people of India are about her politicians, most of the country’s citizens would have rallied behind a call for jihad against Pakistan and its minions spreading terror in the country.

So clearly, the attack on the Indian parliament and the subsequent stand-off with Pakistan took both sub-continental neighbours to the edge of Armageddon.

The image of the jihadi masked under facial follicilitis however melted away when the articulate bespectacled visage of Mohammad Afzal appeared on a television channel confessing to have masterminded the attack. Well-cut clothes and  clipped Queen’s English did not betray the rigours of interrogation nor the fear of the unknown. Only the fact that so many security personnel lost their lives at the hands of this man evoked revulsion in his ideology and methods.

However the man’s refusal to  file a mercy plea before the president after being sentenced to death showed a strength of character that would have been eulogized if only he had been on the Indian side of the fence in a different era. Like the three youths who found their way into history textbooks after they were hanged for throwing a bomb in the Constituent Assembly. Same place. Last century.

Be Sociable, Share!