Hanging a milestone say some Muslim groups, others disagree

From dubbing it a "milestone" in the fight against terrorism to terming it "unfortunate, unjustified and avoidable", Muslim organisations reacted variedly to the execution of Afzal Guru.

The common thread in the reactions was that terrorism should not be linked to any religion. The Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind, the influential organisation of Deoband clerics, felt the execution has a symbolic value in the fight against terrorism and hence should not be viewed through the prism of victory or defeat. "The SC judgment was a milestone in the fight against terrorism and today it has been implemented," its secretary Niaz Farooqui said. He, however, said that the state should deal with terrorism of all hues.

Zafarul Islam Khan of All India Muslim Majlis-e Mushawarat felt the hanging was "unfortunate and unjustified". "Afzal Guru did not get a proper trial and did not have a lawyer at certain stages. He had from day one maintained that he was sent to Delhi from Srinagar by a police officer...He did not take part in the attack and at best, he was a secondary player. He could have been kept in the jail for the rest of his life," Khan said. He felt the issue has been politicised and the Congress was trying to steal the BJP's thunder. "But what is to be seen is how this is going to play out in Kashmir where militancy has been more or less contained."

The vice-president of Popular Front of India P Koya felt that commuting his death sentence would have sent out a positive message in Kashmir.

The Jamaat's political avatar, the Welfare Party of India, questioned the execution's timing. "We believe that the law of the land should be implemented. But the Congress will have to answer why it delayed the execution for so many years. The question is whether they have done it now as election is in sight," WPI leader S Q R Ilyas said.

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