Afzal hanging may fuel 'sense of alienation': Omar

FP

A day after the execution of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah cautioned on Sunday that this may increase the "sense of alienation" and have "worrying implications on the psyche of a new generation of Kashmiris".

"I think it will play on the sense of alienation... My concern goes beyond the immediate law and order situation. I am seriously concerned about the larger implications... The long-term implications are far more worrying. They are related to the psyche of a new generation of Kashmiris, who may not perhaps identify with Maqbool Bhat but will identify with Afzal Guru," he said in an interview with The Indian Express.

"There is more than one generation of Kashmiris who have come to understand themselves as victims who will not get justice. Afzal Guru's execution has reinforced that feeling. They feel there is no justice for them. This is very disturbing. I don't have answers for that," added Abdullah.

"The way in which death row inmates are leap-frogging over others is a serious issue,'' he said. "I understand that you have executed Afzal Guru for the parliament attack, and you say that the parliament is a symbol of democracy. The same must apply to others as well. Is a chief minister of a state or a former prime minister not a symbol of democracy? If this decision is not political but legal, then please understand there are others on death row for attacks on symbols of democracy as well," he said, in an apparent reference to the assassinations of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh.

Reacting to the protests that Afzal didn't get a fair trial, Abdullah said: "The Supreme Court judgement has words that are difficult to explain. The judgement says that there is strong circumstantial evidence and I have never known circumstantial evidence to be a basis of death sentence."

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