THERE is something sick about our pseudo intellectuals. It is, perhaps, because they are so perpetually sick that they are referred to as ‘pseudo’ which they obviously are. Their writings betray such lack of intellectual honesty that it makes one to throw up while reading them. The way they have condemned the hanging of Afzal Guru – as if he is totally innocent – makes one wonder whether they understand what justice is all about. This world of pseudos is inhabited by the likes of Arundhati Roy and a former Solicitor General of India, TR Andhyarujina.
Writing in The Hindu (February 19 Andhyarujina argued that “in executing Afzal Guru after a prolonged period in which he and his family suffered the agony of suspense, the government flouted a well-settled law laid down by the Supreme Court in several cases.” Overall, he said, arguing his cae in support of Guru, his “execution will remain the most callous death sentence carried out by the Government of India”.
Arundhati Roy, writing in Outlook (February 25) said that “the hanging of Afzal Guru, its brazenness and its timing is deliberate. It has brought politics and anger back onto Kashmir’s streets. India hopes to manage it with the usual combination of brute force and poisonous Machiavellian manipulation. The war in Kashmir is presented to the world as a battle between an inclusive, secular democracy and radical Islamists.”
Writing in the same magazine others attributed to the Government’s decision to hang Afzal ideas like “tilting distinctly rightwards at the windmill, trying to checkmate the BJP and attempting ‘competitive communalism’.
The Telegraph (February 12) said “delay (in hanging Guru) also raises questions about the law’s certitude, re-opens controversies regarding evidence and fairness and makes tardiness look like hesitation.” ‘In short’ it said, “people begin to suspect whether justice has been served at all.”
Nandini Sundar, who teaches Sociology at Delhi Univerisity, writing in Hindustan Times (February 12) evidently under great mental turmoil, said “If to be an Indian is to accept the death penalty, if to be Indian is to accept the unjust hanging of a tortured man born of a tortured and alienated people, if to be Indian is to accept the rapes of my sisters and the impunity of its officers, let me say in the words of the Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet: “Yes I am a traitor…” According to her “in a divided India, justice does not serve as a tool of inclusion. It is, instead, used as a weapon of retribution.”
The Asian Age (February 14) had two articles published, one by Naeem Akhtar, chief spokes-person of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) and another by Anand K Sahay (the paper’s Coordinating Editor). According to Akhtar “there is sadness, dismay, rage, even a sense of vengeance” among Kashmiri youth and “the average Kashmiri believes that Guru has been a victim of injustice”. According to Sahay “India has behaved like a banana republic” but “nevertheless the ‘alienation’ bogey can be raised only if Kashmiri politicians press it, not otherwise.” As Sahay saw the situation, it is a “monstrous lie that helps vested interests to give it currency” to say that “Kashmiris are treated differently from other Indians”. And he made an important point. He said: “If the general election was the consideration, why was Guru not hanged in 2007?”.
The New Indian Express (February 16) insisted that “the protests against capital punishment by self-styled Human Rights activists and liberal intelligentsia provoked by the hanging of terror convicts Ajmal Kasab and Afzal Guru are unjustified and misplaced.” The paper said editorially that President Mukherjee deserves support for the quick disposal of clemency petitions by death-row convicts” and the Manmohan Singh Government “will do well to ignore these bleeding hearts who clamour for the human rights of perpetrators of terror…. the signal should indeed be loud and clear that India would show zero tolerance towards acts of terror and subversion”. The strongest defence of the government in this Afzal Guru hanging case, significantly enough, has come in Deccan Herald (February 19) in an article by BG Verghese, a wellknown journalist. In a strongly argued column Verghese damned “some of the screaming media headlines and commentaries that the man (Afzal Guru) was more sinned against than sinning, and that the real crime was not his hand in planning the dastardly act on Parliament House in 2001 but the fact that he was hanged in secrecy.” Verghese said that the cry that Kashmir has been discriminated against is “nonsense”. He said: “A public announcement would have quite probably led to mobilisation by protestors and separatist elements and varieties of ‘activists’ to drum up collateral political demonstrations, stage appeals and enforce bandhs.”
Added Verghese “A simple though rarest of rare act of justice would have once again been turned into a political circus and law and order problem. This was best avoided and precautions were taken to contain ugly street reactions by sundry elements out to exploit the situation for nefarious ends.” And he asked: “Does anyone remember Abdual Ghani Lone’s body being ghoulishly snatched from the very arms of his grieving family by joyful separatists who assassinated him in the first place for preaching moderation and peace with India? Or Maulana Farooq, the late Mir Waiz whose son, Umar, shamefully even today dares not name the known assassins of his father for fear of dire consequences for betraying the ‘cause’.
Verghese however also had a word of advice to the Government. As he put it, “Parliament should resolve that henceforth that all petitions be disposed of in three months or less. If not, the petition must automatically stand rejected and the condemned prisoner executed within a week without further appeals or interventions. Justice must prevail.” Incidentally, no one has brought forth the wholesale crimes committed by Kashmiri Muslims when they drove out over 300,000 Kashmir Pundits from their homes in January 1990, raping and murdering more than 1,100 pundit women. There has been no apology from Kashmir Muslims for that sickening behaviour of their co-religionists. Jihadists can kill a thousand Kashmir pundits and no tear is shed; but hang one man among jihadists involved in the attack on Parliament, and our sick pseudos call for justice. It makes one feel like throwing up.