ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Express Delivery of Death

A Home Minister Murders the Constitution

The rush and secrecy with which Afzal Guru's execution was carried out under the orders of Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde, after the presidential rejection of his clemency petition, is an affront to civilised values enshrined in the Constitution. Considering the circumstances of Afzal Guru's conviction and execution, could it be said that he simply was a man who had to be eliminated, since he had too much knowledge of the dimensions of India's two-decade long dirty war in Kashmir?

Basking in the euphoria orchestrated by a doting media after the execution of Ajmal Kasab last November, Union Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde made a promise that strangely escaped deeper scrutiny, despite its ominous ring. There would be no undue delay in determining the fate of Afzal Guru, he said: indeed, he would not delay matters beyond 48 hours, once the president of India decided on the mercy petition filed for the sole death row convict in the December 2001 attack on India’s Parliament.1

Shinde is given to frequently indecorous public utterances, especially when facing a scrum of media persons eager to get the sound bite that will sell. But when his verbal impetuosity is seen to foretell an unseemly – and grossly illegitimate – rush of administrative actions, his occupancy of high office should be seen as a clear menace to all civilised values.

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