Mufti: Hanging turned Gandhi’s country into a banana republic

By denying Afzal Guru's family a chance to meet him before his execution, "the country of Mahatma Gandhi" had reduced itself to a "banana republic", former union home minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said Monday.

"It is no good to regret the inability of the government to deny Afzal's family a last mandatory meeting with him or deny his body to the family," the PDP patron said. "This reduces Mahatma Gandhi's country, the world's largest democracy and a genuine candidate for super power status, to a banana republic."

Mufti apprehended the execution would give birth to another generation of militants. "The latest events have unfortunately created a sense of defeat among a people who have been bruised by six and half decades of uncertainty and bloody history," the former J&K chief minister said. "I wish it doesn't consume another generation of Kashmiri youth but one cannot wish away the apprehension."

Questioning the soundness of Indian democracy, Mufti said, "It is sad that our democratic system could not accommodate some basic decency and legal requirements in dealing with an issue that could have very serious impact on the state and its future."

If ever there was an "overwhelming reason to use the provision of commutation in our constitution both for legal and political reasons," Mufti said, "it was this case."

He demanded that Afzal's body be returned to his family and "unconstitutional curbs" — indefinite curfew, clampdown on cable, internet, mobile services, and newspapers — be lifted. He called these curbs "collective punishment" of the people of Kashmir.

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